Finding an archaeologist to support your native title claim

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If you are an indigenous group that is looking for an archaeologist to create a report to support your native claim, it's important to choose the right archeologists to maximise your chances of a successful claim.

Experience in looking at archeological artifacts from similar groups

As many native groups close to each other hunt similar groups of animals and exist in a similar climate surrounded by similar raw materials some of the items that are retrieved may be similar to items that are used in other local native groups. (For example, desert tribes that hunt the same lizards will often create tools that have some similarity due to their available raw materials.) It is important that your archaeologist can tell the difference between items that have been made and used by your group as opposed to the neighbouring groups, and can communicate these differences clearly. It can be very useful to choose an archaeologist with a history of working with groups in your broad geographical area.

Experience working in legal environments

There are some great archeologists who work primarily in academics but who may not be as confident working in a legal environment. Working on a legal case requires some different skills. It is a good idea to choose a firm that has a strong history of submitting technical evidence to native title claims to courts.  Some firms have archaeologists that specialise in field work, and others that specifically deal with report writing dealing with legal issues. 

An easy and warm nature

Often as part of a native claim, the archaeologists need to interview some older members of the group to discuss how they performed tasks with their family and tribe growing up. These older people are not always comfortable with authority figures, depending on their experiences, or can be a bit reluctant to open up to new people. Finding archaeologists who are experienced in understanding the non-verbal communication approaches, as well as being able to quickly build rapport, can be vital in getting the necessary information for the legal case. Being able to interpret answers correctly, such as interpreting when a yes is an agreement vs. a polite comment expressing lack of knowledge of the answer, is extremely important when doing field work with interviewees. 

Finding the right archaeologist for a native title claim for your tribe depends on finding a good match for the specifics of your claims, such as someone having experiences in your area and a nature that suits the people they will be interacting within your tribe.