Griffith helps uncover archaeological past in Mithaka Country

Unravelling the past for the First People is key to a new partnership between Griffith University and the Mithaka People of South West Queensland.

Mithaka People are the Native Title owners of 33,800 square kilometres in the Channel Country of southwest Queensland, as well as the last claimants to a further 22,000 square kilometres west of Cooper’s Creek.

Today (July 24) the Mithaka People launched their Research Framework. This research framework will support Mithaka Traditional Owners and their research partners to:

  • establish trust between researchers and create a neutral platform for effective research;
  • implement best practice research using culturally sensitive guidelines and principles;
  • promote innovative research that traverses and benefits western and traditional knowledge;
  • create opportunities to develop, promote and engage with Aboriginal research.

The collaboration will allow leading scientists from Griffith’s Australian Research Centre for Human Evolution (ARCHE) to further their work with the Mithaka people in Channel Country.

By integrating non-Indigenous scientific approaches with Indigenous approaches and knowledge, researchers hope to build a thorough understanding of how Mithaka Country received her people and how she carried them through the next 50,000 or so years

Mithaka Aboriginal Corporation chief executive Barry Riddiford said the Mithaka people were really trying to understand what went on across their land for many years.

“This partnership is going to open up a lot more opportunity for in-depth investigation and is a part of a long-term strategy,” he said.

Mr Riddiford said the aim was to participate in and develop research as a practice that collaborated with Mithaka Traditional Owners to manage traditional knowledge so that it benefited Mithaka Country, Culture and People.

ARCHE Director Professor Rainer Grün said there was a wealth of archaeological remains and features in Mithaka Country that would help First People gain insights into their archaeological past.

“I think the partnership is the essence of what we do at ARCHE and part of our mission to help unravel the past for Australia’s First Peoples,” he said.

Mithaka Aboriginal Corporation’s Research Framework ensures that all stages of research are transparent and accountable, and supported by sound Mithaka governance and continuous communication between Traditional Owners and their research partners.


Mithaka Aboriginal Corporation RNTBC holds in trust the native title rights and interests of Mithaka People of South-Western Queensland. It was formed as an entity in September 2015 in order to finalise the Native Title claim over Mithaka Country – an area west of Windorah in South West Queensland. Mithaka People’s non-exclusive native title determination over 33,752km2 of country was recognised after a 13 year legal process in October 2015. Mediation with the different interests, primarily pastoral leases, in the determination area ceased in September 2015, and a consent determination was reached

The Australian Research Centre for Human Evolution, which sits within based in Griffith’s Environmental Futures Research Institute, is the first academic centre specifically focused on gaining a deeper understanding of the scale of ancient human migrations and the full story of the origins of the people in our region. An initiative of Queensland’s Griffith University,ARCHE’s mission is to foster research excellence through multidisciplinary projects that bring together leading Australian and international scholars and institutions in the field of human evolution, with a particular focus on two key regions: Australia and neighbouring Southeast Asia.