Country, Culture, People, Future

July 2022

Early registrations open: National Indigenous Empowerment Summit 2022

Posted: July 28th, 2022

Darwin is hosting the 2022 National Indigenous Empowerment Summit on 2- 4 November.

Over 50 speakers will present across the three streams: Indigenous Education, Indigenous Employment and Indigenous Economic Development. The summit aims to “provide pathways for empowerment through improved access to Indigenous education, supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people into employment and accelerating Indigenous businesses to thrive.”

Summit presenters include: Hon Selena Jane Maliljarri Uibo MLA (NT Minister for Aboriginal Affairs), Nova Peris OAM OLY MAICD (Olympian and Former Senator), Jerome Cubillo (Chief Executive Office, Northern Territory Indigenous Business Network), Aunty Flo Watson OAM (Chairperson and Elder Teralba Park Stolen Generations Support Group) and Ken Riddiford (Chief Executive Officer, Stronger Smarter Institute).

Early Registration has opened here and further information is available from the event site.

Indigenous focus in State of the Environment report

Posted: July 22nd, 2022

The recently released Australia State of the Environment 2021 report has combined scientific, traditional and local knowledge with Indigenous and non-Indigenous people working together for the first time to create an overall holistic assessment.

Conducted every five years, the inclusion of Indigenous authors, an entire Indigenous-led theme and Indigenous-specific case studies marks a significant change to the reporting – with the CSIRO highly supportive of the approach.

Australia State of the Environment 2021 aims to help shape policy and action, influence behaviours and highlight the complex relationships between Country, culture and people.

The report noted:

  • There is a deep interconnection between the health of Country and the health of Indigenous people.
  • Indigenous knowledge and sustainable cultural practice are key to environmental management.
  • Indigenous cultural principles need greater recognition in environmental management and development approvals where other values, such as economic goals, often override them.

Major themes regarding Indigenous stakeholders’ expectations from both the government and report included the need for:

  • An Indigenous voice present in the national environmental discussion with increased participation in decision-making.
  • Better valuing Indigenous knowledge (from traditional knowledge-holders, not just Indigenous scientists).
  • Genuine engagement with realistic timeframes. Governments should reach out to all levels of community to include the diversity of Indigenous voices, recognising traditional knowledge often sits at a grassroots level.
  • Community-led solutions tailored to individual communities.
  • Continually collecting information in the years between reports.
  • Using plain English, so everyone can understand.
  • Long-term commitments from government, industry and community partners, in terms of programs and investments.
  • Removing barriers that Indigenous communities are expected to overcome to access resourcing.
  • More training programs to support caring for Country.

View the whole Australia State of the Environment 2021 report or go straight to the Indigenous chapter.

NAIDOC Week 2022 Feature: Cultural Heritage Protection

Posted: July 8th, 2022

Today, YMAC acknowledges and pays tribute to the many strong leaders in our regions – past, present, and emerging – who Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up! for improved cultural heritage protections. Today we highlight the outstanding efforts of YMAC Deputy Co- Chairperson – Pilbara Region, Mrs Doris Eaton.

Mrs Eaton is a highly respected Njamal/Pitjakarli/Nyangumarta Elder from the Pilbara region. She was the first woman to be elected as Co-Chairperson of YMAC’s Board of Directors, and she retains a position as its Deputy Co-Chairperson to-date. Through these roles, she has evidenced her ardent leadership in myriad ways. However, we wish to focus on her immense contribution to the protection, preservation and promotion of Aboriginal culture and heritage; in particular, her actions as a driving force challenging planned changes to the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972 over the years.

Following the introduction of both the Aboriginal Heritage Amendment Bill 2014 and then the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Bill 2021, Mrs Eaton strove to ensure other Aboriginal people were informed about what was being proposed and lead the charge in demanding their voices heard in response. As part of this work, she called for the reinstatement of the Yule River Bush Meetings, championed a 1,600-signature strong petition opposing amendments, headed Traditional Owner delegations to Parliament, facilitated community information sessions, and lead protest demonstrations in Perth and the Pilbara.

Through her actions, Mrs Eaton has played a pivotal role in heightening engagement of other Aboriginal people on this important issue and advocating that any introduced changes function to empower Traditional Owners and their decision-making in all matters affecting them. Her primary objectives are to safeguard an enduring legacy underpinned by proper, genuine consultation and the necessity for Aboriginal people to determine best practices for conserving and managing their cultural heritage, including sites of significance; with this all aligning with her overall goal to promote the uniqueness and importance of Aboriginal Law, customs and practices, and the opportunities and benefits of uniting these with mainstream systems and processes could produce.

Speaking about what has motivated her the most, Mrs Eaton has said:

“I am my father’s daughter; he inspired me through his involvement in the 1946 Pilbara Strike. Through his encouragement, and that from my cultural Law Elders, I wanted to be a role model too. Now, I want to see our younger people stepping up, and I want to help guide them, so they can continue this important journey.

I want part of my legacy to be about how I stood up for our sites of significance, our cultural heritage, our spiritual connection to Country, and did what I could to protect it all for future generations.”

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are advised that this article may contain images of deceased people.

Expression of Interest: Calling all Kariyarra, Nyamal and Ngarla Artists

Posted: July 8th, 2022

The Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Internal Working Group for the Town of Port Hedland are seeking an Expression of Interest from all Kariyarra, Nyaml and Ngarla Artists to submit an original design for the new Town of Port Hedland uniforms for employees to proudly wear in the community.

 With the Town’s colour palette in mind, this will be an opportunity for artists to create artwork that represents their connection to Port Hedland and its surrounding areas.

 Artworks can be submitted via photo attachment (must be at least a 5-megabyte attachment), addressed to the Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Internal Working Group

If you have any questions, please contact Erica Thompson, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Engagement Officer via email or on 08 9158 9791.


NAIDOC Week 2022 Feature: Pilbara Strike

Posted: July 7th, 2022

Today, YMAC acknowledges and pays tribute to those strong leaders from our Pilbara region who showed us how to Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up! when they led the 1946 Pilbara Strike.

In 1946, Aboriginal pastoral workers commenced their well-organised public pursuit for better pay and working conditions in the Pilbara. Hundreds of people walked off more than 20 stations, affecting about 10,000 square kilometres of farming country in the region. At its height, at least 800 people were on strike, and by 1949 award rates were finally won. Having lasted for three years, it remains the longest strike in Australia’s history, and, understandably, holds great historical significance.

The strikers’ strength and resolve to ensure a fairer future for themselves, as well as generations to come, has since become an inspiration for many. Their bravery and determination forced changes that helped initiate the restoration and recognition of their basic human rights.

Each year, the anniversary of the 1946 Pilbara Strike also draws attention to the legacy of the courageous actions of these Pilbara people who stood up for their rights and made their voices heard.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are advised that this article may contain images of deceased people.

NAIDOC Week 2022 Feature: Yamatji on Country

Posted: July 6th, 2022

Today, YMAC acknowledges and pays tribute to those strong leaders in our Yamatji region who Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up! for improved conditions and opportunities for themselves and their communities, as well as future generations to come.

The second Yamatji on Country is set to take place 3 and 4 August 2022. These events are organised at the request of YMAC’s Yamatji Regional Committee and are intended to provide a forum for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from across the region to come together to build relationships, discuss issues important to them, identify solutions to address concerns, and celebrate achievements to-date. They are also an occasion for government and other stakeholders to attend, engage, and collaborate on how to best make positive changes.

Those involved in the inaugural Yamatji on Country were resolved in their position to oppose and reject the draft Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Bill 2021 on the basis that it contradicted and undermined the self-determination rights and privileges of Traditional Owners, and restricted their voice, dismissed their cultural authority and denied any delegation in decision-making processes that involve protecting and preserving land, culture, language, heritage and interests. This united front helped to inform and fortify YMAC’s broader advocacy work on this matter and demonstrated to the State Government the strength and resilience of the community to stand up for what they believe is right and fair.

Continuing in this vein, the 2022 gathering will see our Yamatji community leaders once again leading important conversations and standing up to voice their positions when they meet with other decision-makers and influencers. To this end, we commend them for their commitment to ensuring real and meaningful change is realised to the benefit of not only them and their communities now, but for generations to come, across the entire region.

For more information about this year’s Yamatji on Country, click here.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are advised that this article may contain images of deceased people.

NAIDOC Week 2022 Feature: Constitutional Recognition and Reform

Posted: July 5th, 2022

Today, YMAC acknowledges and pays tribute to the many strong leaders in our regions who Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up! for constitutional reform and representation. In particular, we would like to commend Mr Peter Windie, YMAC’s Co-Chairperson – Yamatji Region, for his ongoing commitment to this critical issue.

Mr Windie is a Thudgari man who played an integral leadership role in his peoples’ native title determination in 2009. He was also an applicant on the combined Thiin-Mah Warriyangka Tharrkari Jiwarli Native Title Claim, determined in 2019.

In addition to these and many other achievements, Mr Windie has also been a mainstay in representing YMAC’s support for the Uluru Statement from the Heart and our advocacy relating to constitutional recognition.

When it was extended, YMAC welcomed and accepted the invitation contained in the Statement, and we continue to walk together with other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in a movement of the Australian people for a better future. YMAC is also a strong supporter of the Statement’s “call for the establishment of a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution”: now a key national issue following the 2022 Federal Election and the Albanese Labor Government’s commitment to implement the Statement in full.

YMAC believes the Australian Constitution should include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and acknowledge their long experience of colonisation and dispossession.  It should recognise their ongoing connection to Country, as well as their rights to protect and care for their ancestral lands.  Further, it must also provide for the establishment of a permanent advisory body to enable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to inform and influence policies, practices, and projects that directly impact them and their communities.

Taking a lead when it comes to this critical work, Mr Windie has represented YMAC at several related events. This has included the earlier Regional Dialogues, which culminated in the ‘First Nations National Constitutional Convention’ at Uluru in May 2017. And it was at this convention the Uluru Statement from the Heart was borne.

Reflecting on this journey so far and the promise anticipated next steps might bring, Mr Windie recently shared:

“Real and practical change is needed if we are to ever overcome the disadvantages we face. Recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Constitution and establishing the Makarrata Commission will be significant steps towards Australia telling the truth about and genuinely acknowledging our history; while creating a Voice to Parliament enshrined in the Constitution will better enable us to shape our future.

It means a lot to me to have been involved in this very important and meaningful movement, and I am excited to think of the benefits and possibilities it could produce. Now, I just hope that the Prime Minister keeps to his word, and we soon see the full realisation of all that is contained in the Uluru Statement from the Heart.”

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are advised that this article may contain images of deceased people.

NAIDOC Week 2022 Feature: Native Title Rights and Recognition

Posted: July 4th, 2022

Today, YMAC acknowledges and pays tribute to the many strong leaders in our regions – past, present, and emerging – who Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up! for their native title rights and recognition.

The journey to having native title determined is often long and always hard-fought. These leaders have demonstrated significant resilience and resolve to ensure their rights are recognised and will be for generations to come.

Once recognised, native title holders have rights to enter and remain on Country, camp, hunt, fish, gather and use resources of the land and waters, engage in rituals and ceremonies, protect areas of cultural significance, and make decisions about using the land in accordance with traditional law.

Across both our representative regions, YMAC has proudly supported groups – each with their own distinct culture and identity – to achieve over 30 native title determinations to-date, and we will continue to support Traditional Owners on their native title journeys.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are advised that this article may contain images of deceased people.

NAIDOC Week 2022

Posted: July 1st, 2022

NAIDOC Week begins this Sunday, 3 July.  This year’s NAIDOC Week theme is ‘Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up!’ which must be a genuine commitment by all of us to continue to get up, stand up and show up every day. Whether it’s seeking proper environmental, cultural and heritage protections, Constitutional change, a comprehensive process of truth-telling, working towards treaties, or calling out racism — we must do it together.

During this week, YMAC will acknowledge, honour, and celebrate many of those who have, and those who continue to, Get Up! Stand Up! and Show Up! There are also many events in our regions celebrating this important week. Below are links to a few:



Port Hedland

National NAIDOC Committee

NAIDOC week is a time to recognise the many who have driven and led change in our communities over generations, the heroes and champions of change, of equal rights and basic human rights. Check here for daily updates.

YMAC hopes others will join us this coming week in celebrating not only Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s achievements, but the history, rich culture, and survival of the oldest continuing living culture on earth.



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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