Last week, the Karajarri Rangers and Yiriman went out to Edgar Ranges for a 3-night camping trip. We put out camera traps, undertook fire burning, and went for a night walk in search of the rare, endangered Night Parrot.
Ewan and Gulu went on the chopper and were responsible for burning around the central north of Karajarri native title area. It was an aerial burn of three-four year old vegetation. On the second aerial burning trip in the afternoon, Bayo navigated in the chopper while Wyno operated the incendiary machine. After finishing, they took a quick tour around the Edgar Ranges, while the ground crew put out camera traps to record any native or feral fauna.
We also had a visit from the Bidyadanga Police, who have funding to help run programs on youth engagement. We had seven youth including our very own 2018 school-based trainee Jonelle Bennett on board with us, and Ronnie from the Bidyadanga clinic. Ronnie came on the trip to have one-on-one talks with the young ones, and run a group session on health, drugs, and alcohol issues.
These trips are very important for rangers to monitor native flora and fauna on country and also to mitigate wild bushfire in the later year. It’s also important for youth on these trips to be involved in looking after country, traditional knowledge, and to stay out of trouble.
How do Traditional Owners explore their relationships with the land? This was the question Christopher M. McCormack from Wild Melbourne used to frame a short documentary on the Karajarri and Nyangumarta Rangers. You can check out by clicking the image above.
By Wynston Shovellor - Sesar: Between the 12th and 15th March, KTLA sent a team of rangers and members to the AIATSIS office in Canberra. Wynston Shovellor - Sesar, Petha Farrer - Shoveller, Anna Dwyer and Mervyn Mulardy Jr visited AIATSIS as part of one of their research pilot projects 'Preserve, Strengthen and Renew in Community'. On the first day, we had an introduction session with AIATSIS, and other organisations and language groups, where we sat around the table introducing ourselves. Karajarri and Kiwirrkurra are the two main case study groups that are working closely with AIATSIS on recording new stories, and returning old materials to the groups. We then visited the AIATSIS head office where we looked through some of our old documented materials and prepared a presentation for the following day.
On the second day, we presented our Karajarri Wangkai Muwarr presentation. It was Petha’s first time public speaking to 50+ people. The audience was made up of researchers, academics, institutions and language groups. Our presentation was about the work we did with AIATSIS but it also included some of our revitalisation projects with Yawuru. We also listened to the Kiwirkurra presentation about what they’ve been doing with AIATSIS in recording stories and media training.
On day three, Wangka Maya & IBN presented on their work – who they are, what they do, and what challenges they have. We shared ideas on what might help their organisations. Some of us, including the Karajarri team, did some role plays in the room, acting out a story of how the process works at AIATSIS in releasing private documents and consultation with the Aboriginal community to approve the usage of materials. We then finished up with breaking into groups and discussing situations and challenges that each language group and organisation struggles with in Western Australia. It was a great experience for us, especially for Petha to be a part of the whole week event, to connect, learn and observe the knowledge and understanding of how AIATSIS and language groups work with each other.
Karajarri Traditional Lands Association (KTLA) is one of 13 Aboriginal organisations to successfully receive funding as part of the WA state government’s five-year Aboriginal Ranger Program.
The funding will provide employment for four rangers to work on a desert fire and biodiversity project, in partnership with Yanunijarra Aboriginal Corporation. The project will involve improving the fire management, cultural knowledge, and biodiversity within the Great Sandy Desert sections of the Karajarri and Ngurrara Indigenous Protected Areas, and the jointly managed areas of Kurriji Pa Yajula and Walyarta Nature Reserves. All up, the project area covers approximately 110,000km2.
It’s important country, covering areas of special cultural and conservation significance. It’s home to the federally vulnerable bilby, borders the Paraku IPA, where the critically endangered night parrot was recently spotted, and is free of foxes and rabbits.
Karajarri Traditional Lands Association looks forward to working closely with Yanunijarra Aboriginal Corporation on this project.
Joint press statement with the Indigenous Land Corporation.
The purchase of the Port Smith Bird Park, near Broome, Western Australia, by the Indigenous Land Corporation (ILC) on behalf of the Karajarri Traditional Lands Association (KTLA) is testament to the success that collaborative, cross sector partnerships can achieve in assisting Traditional Owners secure land for economic, cultural, environmental and social benefit.
On Friday, 17 November, the Karajarri community and their project partners, the ILC, Ernst and Young (EY) and the Kimberley Land Council (KLC), will gather at the property to mark the occasion of the purchase of the four hectare property behind the culturally significant Port Smith lagoon area (Purnturrpurntur), 170 km south of Broome. The event will include an evening of traditional dance, music and food and will celebrate the vision to transform Karajarri country into the southern cultural gateway to the Kimberley region.
The Bird Park, which hasn’t been an operational business since 2010, has been purchased by the ILC on behalf of the KTLA to establish the ‘Karajarri Tourism Hub and Cultural Base’ to provide tourism and land management training and employment opportunities and expand the Karajarri Ranger Program.
Chairman of KTLA Thomas (Dooley) King said Karajarri will continue to work in collaboration with current partners, such as the ILC, EY, KLC, Morrgul and Tourism WA, while seeking additional investment partners to create a vibrant cultural hub for visitors.
“We will have Karajarri rangers based at the Bird Park and they’ll give tourists a warm welcome to our country,” Mr King said.
“Visitors will have the opportunity to become involved in Karajarri storytelling sessions, dances, and to join us for on-country cultural tours.
“The area around the Bird Park has a significant modern history. The early pearlers had a base on our country in the late 1800s and many Karajarri people were black-birded to work as pearl divers. This period was a dark time for our people, we were enslaved and lost our traditional lands. KTLA is committed to following through on our old people’s wishes to get back control of Karajarri country,” Mr King said.
KTLA will also use the Bird Park as a base for marine scientists conducting research on Karajarri country and to manage visitation in a culturally and environmentally appropriate way.
Over the next three years, the ILC will work with the KTLA board to officially hand back the title to the land.
ILC Chairman Eddie Fry said, “The ILC investment on behalf of Karajarri signifies our commitment to working with Indigenous landholders to maximise the potential of their land and assets within the Indigenous estate.
In collaboration with the project partners, we look forward to providing support, expertise and mentoring in the next three years ahead to ensure Karajarri can take full advantage of the economic, social, cultural and environmental benefits afforded to them through this strategic land purchase.”
The success of the cross sector investment model serves as a call to action to other government agencies and corporate and philanthropic donors to invest in the vision of Traditional Owner groups across Australia and work together to effect real change in the lives of Indigenous Australians.
EY Partner, Bill Farrell said, “The team at EY have been both inspired and enriched having worked with the Karajarri over the past three years on this important project. From our very first visit to Port Smith we experienced something very special; the land, the people, the history and the stories. To see the vision come to fruition is a proud moment for all those involved, and we are honoured to have played our part. We will continue to support the Karajarri and consistent with our purpose of building a better working world support all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and empower Indigenous prosperity.”
The Port Smith Bird Park acquisition follows the recent ILC hand over of land to Traditional Owners including cattle property Kooreelah (1044ha), near Casterton, Victoria to the Winda-Mara Aboriginal Corporation and Kings Run (338ha) near the Arthur River to the Aboriginal Land Council of Tasmania.
Acquisition Celebration: 3.30pm-6pm, Port Smith Bird Park, Lot 129 Port Smith Road, La Grange. The Port Smith Bird Park property approximately 150km (1.5 hours) south of Broome. The turn off for the Port Smith Bird Park is off the Great Northern Highway, down the unsealed Port Smith Road towards the Caravan Park and lagoon. Please note there is very limited phone coverage in this area.
For ILC media information, please contact:
Peter Keough | Public Affairs Officer | Indigenous Land Corporation
Adelaide Office | www.ilc.gov.au | 08 8100 7106 | 0409 090 852 | E: firstname.lastname@example.org
For KTLA media information and interviews, please contact:
Madelaine Dickie | Media and Communications | KRED Enterprises
Mobile: 0488 440 607 Email: email@example.com