Country, Culture, People, Future


Native Title Stories: Susan Oakley

Posted: August 7th, 2012

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Watch Yamatji Committee member Susan Oakley share her experiences and reflections on native title in Australia.

This is the second in a series of interviews with our Committee and Board Members, in which they share their stories of country and culture. To see the previous interview with Yamatji Committee member Ben Roberts, click here.

NAIDOC profile: Wula Guda Nyinda Aboriginal Cultural Tours

Posted: July 7th, 2011

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Darren “Capes” Capewell teaching stories of his
country to YMAC staff

Wula Guda Nyinda Aboriginal Cultural Tours is an Indigenous tourism provider in the world heritage listed Shark Bay area. Owner and operator Darren “Capes” Capewell offers tourists a unique insight into the culture and country of the Indigenous people of Shark Bay.

A descendant of the Malgana and Nanda people, Capes is passionate about increasing understanding of and respect for Aboriginal culture.

He does this by offering a variety of tours that include bushwalking, kayaking, collecting bush tucker, and telling stories about the country and its first peoples. “I make all my tours interactive, so people participate in the experience,” he said.

Wula Guda Nyinda translates to “you come this way,” which refers to sharing stories, both between generations and between cultures. Capes sums up this approach with the philosophy of education, understanding and respect, which he stresses throughout his tours.

“I try to challenge negative stereotypes people have of modern Aboriginal people by presenting Aboriginal culture in a positive way. I want people to understand the culture and the country,” Capes said.

Capes works to advance the Indigenous tourism industry through his leadership in the Western Australian Indigenous Tourism Operators Committee, the Shark Bay World Heritage Committee and Indigenous Tourism Australia.

“I think education and awareness of Aboriginal culture is so important, for Aboriginal kids, and for non-Aboriginal people. NAIDOC week is a great thing, because it is a time all Australians can walk together, and learn together, about something that is very unique. We have the oldest living culture in the world, and that is something all Australians should be proud of.”

To learn more visit

Across Australia every July, NAIDOC Week celebrates the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. In honour of NAIDOC 2011 YMAC is featuring a series of Aboriginal people and organisations that contribute to the vibrant Aboriginal culture of the Midwest and Pilbara. For more information on NAIDOC including its history and events happening near you, visit

Meet a YMAC Director

Posted: December 13th, 2010

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Roy Bellotti – YMAC Director

Roy is a Malgana man who has lived and worked in the Gascoyne region all his life.

Roy has deep connections to the world heritage listed Shark Bay area, where his grandmother and father were both born.

He enjoys the outdoors and regularly camps, hunts and fishes on his country.

He has been a member of the Yamatji Region Executive Committee since November 2004 and YMAC’s Chairperson since February 2008. Roy is well known in the community for his leadership capacity and ability to unite people.

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.

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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