In August 1993, I attended a national meeting of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representatives at Eva Valley in the Northern Territory to discuss issues arising out of the High Court decision on native title. On the morning just prior to the commencement of the meeting, Nugget Coombs, who had been invited to attend, arrived to wish us well and briefly renew acquaintances with many old Aboriginal and Islander friends. There were warm greetings and well wishing until shortly Nugget departed to allow us to proceed with our business. A young Aboriginal man of perhaps 16 or 17 years inquired of me as to ‘who was that old man?’ My response was, ‘That old man must be respected; he is the whitefella's most senior Elder’. Nugget himself asserts the powers of elders may not amount to more than ‘… a right to be consulted and listened to with respect’. We may not agree with many of the views put forward by him in this book; however, what he has to say demands our respect. In reading the thoughts and words of this man we must listen to what he has to say. It may just transpire that Nugget is right about the solutions and the way forward.
I doubt, however, if anybody has the correct answer to overcoming the enormous disadvantage visited upon Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.