Mutual Respect Agreement between the Yugul Mangi Elders and the Northern Territory Police

Date: 29 June 2009
Sub Category:Memorandum of Understanding
State/Country:Northern Territory, Australia
Subject Matter: | Education | Law - Policy and Justice | Leadership | Recognition Agreement / Acknowledgement | Recognition of Traditional Rights and Interests | Reconciliation
Summary Information:
On 29 June 2009, Yungul Mangi Group of Elders and the Police Force of the Northern Territory signed the Mutual Respect Agreement in Ngukurr. The agreement aims to build on lessons learnt from disagreements between police and Aboriginal people in Ngukurr in the past and to develop an environment of mutual respect for the future.
Detailed Information:
This agreement was developed in response to an incident that took place in November 2008 in Ngukurr in which a respected Elder of the Ngukurr community was forcibly arrested in a degrading manner. The Ngukurr people maintained that they desired the presence of police in Ngukurr and the police wanted to continue to uphold a safe community. On 29 June 2009 at a public gathering, a ceremony took place, plaques were produced and the agreement was signed by police and Yugul Mangi Elders. The agreement includes the following: Cross Cultural Training The Yugul Mangi will conduct a five day cross-cultural training course for police officers working in Ngukurr, with a focus on relationships and communication. The training will cover social practice and Yugul Mangi culture and how these fit in with police policy. Relationships Yugul Mangi Elders will aim to outline the importance of relationships within the community. They will teach police about moiety groups, language groups, and identify Elders, council members, church leaders, interpreters, traditional owners, government employees, Northern Land Council employees and night patrol officers. Mutual Respect and Communication In the training course, the expectation that respectful behaviour will be shown by all in Ngukurr will be explained and the importance of respect will be discussed. The main focus points will be the appropriate respectful behaviour to be shown towards male senior cultural leaders and female senior cultural leaders, producing warrants, not acting without authority, learning from Elders, using appropriate body language, dealing with people in a friendly manner, advising the appropriate people when intending to go onto someone’s land and requesting permission to undertake recreational activities on someone’s land. Awareness of Sacred Sites and Ceremonial Grounds Yugul Mangi Elders will explain to police officers where sacred sites are located and when cultural activities will take place so police can take care not to enter those places or breach any cultural rules related to those places. Elders will also explain how police can contact Yugul Mangi in an emergency situation while a ceremony is in progress. Introductions to Elders and other Key People in Ngukurr Police officers will be introduced to representatives of the four moiety groups: mambali, murrungurn, guyal and burdal as well as other important community leaders to reinforce the protection and respect these representatives require. The representatives are to be consulted about important issues. Ongoing Cooperation between Yugul Mangi and police in Ngukurr Police and Yugul Mangi Elders will meet once a month for consultations about crime, safety, law and justice issues in Ngukurr. Police officers will also be invited to attend Yugul Mangi’s monthly corporation meetings. A protocol concerning these issues will be developed through these meetings. A problem solving forum will also be established through these meetings. On the anniversary of this agreement, police will invite a group of Yugul Mangi people for a tour of the police station at Ngukurr where the roles and functions of police and the police station will be explained and refreshments will be served. On the same day, police will provide the Ngukurr community with a protocol report, both orally and in writing. This report will contain policing protocols decided upon by police representatives and Yugul Mangi representatives. This site will also become a permanent display of the original agreement and ceremonies.

Related Entries

  • Police Force of the Northern Territory - Signatory
  • North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency (NAAJA)
  • Northern Territory of Australia
  • People
  • Yugul Mangi Group of Elders - Signatory
  • Ngukurr community - Signatory

  • Glossary

    Memorandum of Understanding