Country, Culture, People, Future


Agreement over Pilbara mythological site

Posted: December 3rd, 2009

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Ngarla people today announced a heritage and mining agreement with the Boral Group of Companies regarding the Tabba Tabba rock quarry, approximately 40kms east of Port Hedland.

The agreement addresses mining practices over the ‘Mikurrnya’ Aboriginal site, near the quarry, which is of mythological importance to the Ngarla People. In order to preserve and protect the Mikurrnya site to the greatest practical extent, the parties agreed to a final footprint for the mining operations, along with Exclusion Zones to protect the rest of the site.

The agreement also includes compensation to the Ngarla People for impact on their country and formal recognition that past operations had disturbed the Mikurrnya site, causing distress to the Ngarla People.

Ngarla Elder, Charlie Coppin said, “Mikurrnya is one of our most important places. It’s always been there – since the beginning of time. We need to look after it. We were very upset that the quarry was put there. Now we’ve got an agreement to try and protect it.

Simon Hawkins, CEO of Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation said, “We’re pleased Boral Companies acknowledge the Ngarla People’s custodianship and the importance of the Mikurrnya site. These agreements show that despite past actions, working relationships can be resolved and developed between Traditional Owners and industry.”


About Ngarla Country
Ngarla Country covers approximately 4,655 sq km of land east of Port Hedland. The Ngarla People were recognised as native title holders over the area in 2007 and have now have non-exclusive native title rights including the right to enter and remain on land, camp, hunt, fish, gather and use resources of the land and waters (excluding minerals), engage in rituals and ceremonies and protect areas of cultural significance.

As native title holders, Ngarla people must be consulted about development on their land and have a right to negotiate over mineral exploration and the development of new mines. Ngarla people have a native title claim over the area of Mikurrnya.

Image: Susan Armstrong, Company Secretary, Boral Contracting Pty Ltd and Ngarla Elder, Charlie Coppin

Agreement for ASKAP telescope

Posted: November 26th, 2009

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The Wajarri People today celebrated the conclusion of the Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) for the construction of the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder telescope (ASKAP)

The agreement was announced at Parliament House by the Wajarri People, their representativesYMAC, the Hon Christian Porter MLA, the Hon Brendan Grylls MLA, the Hon Troy Buswell MLA, and Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).

The Wajarri People have approximately 2000-3000 community members and one of the largest native title claims in Australia. Wajarri country includes the area chosen for the Australian Square including the area chosen for the ASKAP telescope. The agreement area covers approximately 130 square kilometres of land, located 175 kilometres west of Meekatharra.

The agreement provides financial and non-financial benefits and ensures the cultural heritage of the Wajarri People is protected. Also, with a focus on Pia Aboriginal Community (just 30kms from the proposed SKA site), the agreement also included education opportunities, internet access and cadetships and mentoring for Wajarri kids.

Anthony Dann, Wajarri Traditional Owner said, “The myth that native title holds up development is false; this agreement was completed in record time and the future is looking bright. I look forward to the prospects that education, employment and training opportunities can bring to our community. It’s an exciting time for Wajarri People, the Mid-West and Australia that such a major development will be happening in our country.”

Image: Wajarri Representative, Anthony Dann.

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Thudgari People celebrate recognition of country

Posted: November 19th, 2009

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Ronnie Dodd, Charlie Lapthorne, Stewart Peck, Bella Randall and Peter Salmon at the Thudgari native title determination.

 Exactly 12 years to the day their native title claim was first lodged, the Thudgari People celebrated the legal recognition of their culture and country.

Thudgari country lies between the Ashburton and Gascoyne rivers and is mainly covered by pastoral leases and the Barlee Range nature reserve. Settlement in the area occurred in the late 19th century by pastoralists. Aboriginal people working on stations such as Glen Florrie, Maroonah, Mangaroon, Willambury and Ullawarra were a vital part of the survival of these remote outstations.

The on-country Federal Court hearing, at Ullawarra Station, recognised the Thudgari People’s native title rights to their country, which stem from their traditional laws and customs. The determination formalises these rights and interests, including the right to access the land, and to hunt, gather, camp and protect significant sites.

Traditional Owner Doris Parker said, “I was born on Thudgari country at an outstation on Maroonah Station, my father was born on Ullawarra. As a child I was sent to Carnarvon mission and only had contact with my parents once a year. It was very hard for us Aboriginal children who weren’t allowed to speak our traditional language or be on country to learn from our elders. Today means that I can go out on my country and camp and hunt with my family. I can show our future generations this land and how it connects to who they are.”

YMAC has been proud to represent the Thudgari People and we extend our sinceret congratulations to the community.

Agreement over Wirruwana (Dirk Hartog Island)

Posted: October 27th, 2009

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The Malgana people, YMAC, state government and pastoralists have announced a native title agreement over Dirk Hartog Island giving Traditional Owners greater involvement in the management of the world heritage area.

In exchange for consenting to a national park project, the Malgana native title claim group have negotiated co-operative management of the terrestrial reserves in the Shark Bay World Heritage area. The group will receive a 5 hectare reserve on the island to teach Malgana culture.

The Malgana group have also reached an agreement with the former pastoral lease holders, the Wardle family. This agreement provides for employment opportunities and the recognition of traditional ownership in relation to the expansion of tourism operations on the island.

The island, known as Wirruwana in Malgana language, is of high conservation value and is also the site of the first European landing in Australia. Malgana Traditional Owner, Kelly Oakley, believes preserving the islands high conservation and heritage values are important to all West Australians.

“Wirruwana has always been a place of special significance to our people. By conserving the island’s Aboriginal heritage, biodiversity and historical values we ensure all West Australians can enjoy it’s extraordinary beauty,” she said.

Uranium workshops inform Traditional Owners

Posted: August 7th, 2009

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Last week, YMAC held workshops in Geraldton, Carnarvon and Karratha for Traditional Owners to learn about uranium mining and radiation.

They featured presentations by Dr Stephen Long, from the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency. Dr Long talked about on uranium and radiation, types of mining, environmental and health risks, and rehabilitation of old mine sites.

Questions from Traditional Owners included concerns over water use in uranium mining, transporting uranium from mine sites, impact on cultural practices and the long-term effects on flora and fauna.

For those who couldn’t make it to the workshops, YMAC is producing a DVD and information pack for all our members in 2010.

Our Chairperson wins ‘Elder of the Year’ Award

Posted: July 14th, 2009

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Mrs Doris Eaton, Aboriginal Elder and YMAC’s Co-Chairperson  was announced Female Elder of the Year at Friday night’s NAIDOC Awards in Brisbane.

Mrs Eaton was recognised for her cultural leadership and work with Aboriginal communities in the Pilbara.  On receiving the award, she sais her driving force is to make sure younger generations learn strong culture from their Elders.

“Preserving culture is important to make sure the next generation has a sense of identity. Elders need to teach the youth their language, dreaming stories and cultural practices. First learn your own culture and then you can be strong enough to move between the two worlds, to marry Aboriginal and mainstream cultures together.

I’m honoured to receive the award, it’s a good feeling. We need to keep learning and sharing and encouraging each other to move forward.”

Country is our mother, the provider and keeper of cultural belongings. Country and Culture go together. You can’t have one without the other.

Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation respectfully acknowledges the Traditional Owners and custodians throughout Western Australia, and on whose Country we work. We acknowledge and respect their deep connection to their lands and waterways.

We honour and pay respect to Elders, and to their ancestors who survived and cared for Country.

Our offices are located on Whadjuk Country, Southern Yamatji Country, Yinggarda Country, Kariyarra Country, and Yawuru Country. We recognise the continuing culture, traditions, stories and living cultures on these lands and commit to building a brighter future together.

Disclaimer: Caution: Please be advised that this website may contain images, voices and names of deceased people.

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