Aboriginal people are being "picked off one by one" by a legal system that is little more than veiled apartheid, Aboriginal elders say.
Larrakia elder June Mills says 225 years after white settlement, Aboriginal welfare has been going backwards.
"We still have the stolen generation going on today, in a much more polished way than before - it's slick now," she said.
"It can go completely undetected unless you saw the threads and knew what was going on."
Ms Mills was speaking on Thursday night to a packed Darwin screening of John Pilger's new documentary Utopia, in which the journalist explores the dispossession and poverty of Aboriginal people living in a remote community north of Alice Springs.
Ms Mills said the government was mounting an "undeclared war" targeting Aboriginal men, with punitive laws and high imprisonment rates decimating indigenous culture.
Jailing them in such large numbers has prevented traditional knowledge being passed down to the next generation, legal advocates say.
"Our protectors, our lawmen are incarcerated at unbelievable rates, to disempower, to intimidate," Ms Mills said.
"To get us so depressed and so oppressed that we don't know what to do."
About 85 per cent of the NT prison population is Aboriginal, a number that shoots up to about 99 per cent for juveniles.
An unofficial apartheid is in action, said Jared Sharp, advocacy manager for the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency (NAAJA).
"We have a guise that there's one law for everyone in the NT but that's certainly not how things are implemented," he said.
Alcohol in the NT is a huge problem, and a series of new measures introduced by the NT government to target alcohol-related violence are instead criminalising alcoholics, the majority of whom are Aboriginal, anti-alcohol lobby groups say.
And yet the Territory has the second-highest national proportion of people at risk of long-term damage from alcohol - for the non-indigenous population, Mr Sharp said.
"You have to ask why we're having a (federal) inquiry into alcohol-related violence just for Aboriginal people," he said.
New regulations devised by the Australian Hotels Association and introduced on Thursday will limit the number of drinks people can buy in the Darwin CBD, but these measures are not being rolled out in other towns such as Tennant Creek, where alcohol-related assaults shot up by almost 55 per cent in 2012-13 compared to the previous year.
The Alice Springs-based People Alcohol Action Coalition repeatedly calls for shortened trading hours for bars and bottle shops, which they say is an evidence-based way to reduce alcohol-related violence, but that is not part of the new Darwin regulations.
Another law that targets Aboriginal people is what Mr Sharp calls the "draconian regime" of alcohol mandatory treatment.
Since July, a person can be detained for three months in forced rehabilitation if they are picked up by police for public drunkenness three times in a two-month period.
The estimated cost is about $43,000 per patient, or more than $9 million to date, and the government would consider it successful if 15 to 20 per cent of patients stopped or reduced their drinking, Health Minister Robyn Lambley has said.
"Ninety-nine per cent are Aboriginal people in those facilities," Mr Sharp said.
"You have to ask what's happening here in government policy, and if Aboriginal people are - very subtly, in a hidden way - being targeted by policies like these."
The federal government last year announced it would cut $13.4 million in funding for Australia's peak Aboriginal legal aid organisation, while Aboriginal detainees were being sent to alcohol treatment for three months without understanding why they were there and without access to a lawyer, Mr Sharp said.
The government's newest method for cracking down on problem drinkers, Alcohol Protection Orders, have been issued over 500 times this year already, preventing those on an order from going to any licensed premises for up to 12 months.
That includes supermarkets or sports stadiums, which means people may breach their orders inadvertently, or because they have no choice.
Chief Minister Adam Giles said in their first month of operation, the orders accounted for a 15.8 per cent drop in acts intended to cause injury while under the influence of alcohol.
But if the law permits racial targeting then it is inherently flawed, said Reverend Dr Djiniyini Gondarra OAM, a Yolngu elder from Arnhem Land.
"If we are being victimised as second-class citizens then there's something wrong with the law," he said.
The Little Children Are Sacred report, which was the catalyst for the Howard government's 2007 military occupation of remote NT Aboriginal communities, offered a positive way forward for Aboriginal justice that the government ignored, Mr Sharp said.
"There was a very strong section on the importance of two legal systems working together; the non-Aboriginal system has to start a dialogue with the Aboriginal legal system to find ways that both can strengthen and enhance each other."
Ms Mills said Aboriginal people could come up with solutions themselves, but the mainstream wouldn't permit it.
"They will drip feed us (money), they will set us up for failure... It's death by stealth," she said.
"Indigenous people across this country are fighting for our lives... We're getting systematically picked off, one by one, while every day Australians go about their business in our land."