The first foreign intrusion into the Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands and world view occurred in 1873 with the expeditions of William Gosse and Ernest Giles who were seeking a route for the Overland Telegraph Line to the west coast of the continent.
Pastoral leases were granted for areas to the east, in Yankunytjatjara country, but the proclamation of the North-West Aboriginal Reserve, an area of 56 721 square kilometres, in 1921, provided some protection for the lands and people in the Pitjantjatjara area.
In 1936 the 'South Australian' Government (accepted the plan in principle and) offered a 1000 pound establishment grant if matched by public subscription. Later in the year the proposal was ratified by the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Sydney. In 1937 the Ernabella Mission was established.
In the 1960's a movement began to establish outstations. The first outstation was set up at Fregon in 1961 to provide employment in cattle work. A government reserve was also established at Musgrave Park, and was later given its traditional name Amata again. Indulkana was established in 1963 on part of the Granite Downs Station, and Mimili in 1972 at Everard Park. Kenmore Park was acquired in 1976 for the Pitjantjatjara people.
In March 1981 the first draft of the Pitjantjatjara Lands Rights Bill was passed. On the 4th of November 1981 one of the most important events in the history of South Australia took place when the inalienable freehold title to 102 360 square kilometres of their land was handed over to the Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara people.