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Yamatji (or Yamaji is a Watjarri word bearing two basic meanings; it refers to a(n) (Aboriginal) person, normally male, and, secondly and more specifically, is used by Watjarri people to refer to a member of their tribe.[1] A third sense refers to an inter-tribal aggregation of such peoples used in contemporary land title claims and derives from the fact that it has become a name commonly used by Aboriginal people in the Murchison district to any native person born in that district.[a]

Native Title claims[edit]

The Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation (YMAC), pursuant to the (Commonwealth) Native Title Act 1993, is "the native title representative body (NTRB) for native title claims in the resource-rich Pilbara, Murchison and Gascoyne areas of Western Australia".[3]

As of 2017 the Yamatji have made two of the twelve claims for native title in the Geraldton region.[4] One, concerning the Wajarri Yamatji, was filed in 2004.[5] The second was filed by the Southern Yamatji in 2017.[6]

There have been four executive directors of the YMAC: Wayne Warner (1996-1998); former AFL footballer Clinton Wolf (1998-2001); Roger Cook (2001-2003) and current CEO Simon Hawkins (2003-present). YMAC was until 2017 co-chaired by Pilbara representative Doris Eaton and Yamatji Representative Ben Roberts.[7] Eaton was recognised as the NAIDOC Female Elder of the Year in 2009.[8]

Notable Yamatji[edit]


  1. ^ "yamatji..is commonly used by natives in the Murchison for anyone of Aboriginal descent who was born in the district. Other terms are applied to natives from other districts: for instance, Aborgines from farther east are called Wanmala, and those from the south-west Nunga (Nyungar)."[2]