There are some 75,000 Indigenous peoples in the Murray Darling Basin and most of these people are traditional owners that belong to some 40 autonomous Indigenous Nations.
The Murray Lower Darling Rivers Indigenous Nations (MLDRIN) is a confederation of Indigenous Nations or traditional owners in the lower southern part of the Murray Darling Basin. The group currently represents 24 nations from the following Nations and compromises of delegates from the Wiradjuri, Yorta Yorta, Taungurung, Barapa Barapa, Wamba Wamba, Mutti Mutti, Wadi Wadi, Latji Latji, Wergaia and Ngarrindjeri Nations.
MLDRIN was formed in 1998 during the Yorta Yorta Native Title Case. During this time the Yorta Yorta called for a gathering of all the Indigenous Nations along the Murray River to come together in solidarity of their cause. That first gathering of the Nations along the Murray resulted in the establishment of the Confederation, which further garnered strength and importance after the Native Title determination.
However, it should be remembered that MLDRIN is an expression of the way the Indigenous Nations have always done business – by caring for country and talking to their traditional neighbours upstream and downstream on the Murray and its sister Rivers, Creeks, Lakes, Billabongs and waterways.
Membership on MLDRIN Confederation is for recognised traditional groups or Nations. These were also sometimes called “tribes”, “tribal groups” or “language groups”. This recognition is not just from non-Indigenous sources but from self-identification and collective Indigenous recognition.
MLDRIN performs a number of functions for traditional owners in the Murray Darling Rivers Valleys :