Country, Culture, People, Future


Federal Court recognises joint native title rights of the Nyangumarta and Karajarri peoples

Posted: May 28th, 2012

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Nyangumarta and Karajarri dancers

On Friday May 25, the Federal Court handed down a native title determination to the Nyangumarta and Karajarri communities across shared country near 80 Mile Beach in Western Australia.

The Nyangumarta/Karajarri joint determination resolves two overlapping claims of the Nyangumarta and Karajarri peoples, two different tribal groups who share traditional laws and cultural connection to the area. Justice North handed down the Federal Court’s decision at an on-country determination at Anna Plains Station.

The Kimberley Land Council and the Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation acted on behalf of the Karajarri and Nyangumarta claimants to negotiate native title across 2,000 square kilometres of land and sea country across Anna Plains Station, a portion of Mandora Station and 80 Mile Beach, in the East Pilbara and West Kimberley regions of WA. 

Kimberley Land Council Executive Board Member and Karajarri Traditional Owner Anthony Watson said the Nyangumarta/Karajarri joint native title determination highlighted how two tribal groups could work together to achieve land rights.

“Today’s determination is about co-operation and respect for each other. For these two groups to come together, acknowledge their shared interests in this country and achieve a successful native title consent determination is very powerful,’’ he said.

Nyangumarta Traditional Owner Margaret Rose said, “Years ago, this country was shared between the two groups, from way back. Native Title brought conflict because we each had to prove that the land was ours. But through strong connection to country, we were able to show how both groups are connected to the land together. This brings hope that other groups can follow this example and share country in a happy spirit. It’s appropriate that this is happening in reconciliation week.”

Simon Hawkins, CEO of YMAC, congratulated the groups on their achievement, “The Nyangumarta and Karajarri people should be very proud, this is a positive achievement for everyone. This is a historic day, and a cause for celebration.”
YMAC will be posting more photos and video from the determination on our website soon. For the full media release, click here

YMAC attends launch of ‘Kurlumarniny- We come from the desert’

Posted: May 4th, 2012

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At the book launch in Warralong yesterday 

Yesterday YMAC representatives attended the launch of Monty Hale’s bilingual book ‘Kurlumarniny – We come from the desert’ at the Warralong community.

Monty Hale is one of the quiet achievers of Indigenous Australia , and one of its greatest intellectuals. A senior Nguliparti man from the Pilbara region, his book tells of his family’s migration from the desert to the station country in the eastern Pilbara, his childhood growing up on Mt Edgar Station, witnessing Australia’s engagement in World War two and the famous Pilbara station-workers strike of 1946. The remarkable bilingual publication, written in Nyangumarta and English, tells Monty’s experiences though his vast cultural knowledge and his strong desire to leave a record of his life.

The book will soon be available to purchase from Wangka Maya Language Centre and is a remarkable record of Aboriginal life in the Pilbara.  

Visit for more Indigenous publications from the Pilbara.

Marnti Warajanga exhibition touring the Pilbara

Posted: April 12th, 2012

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Nyangumarta boys taking their first steps on country as recognised native title holders, 11 June 2009. Photograph by Tobias Titz

Marnti Warajanga- a Walk Together is an exhibition of photographs and stories that will be touring Pilbara communities this May and June. Showcasing the photographs of Tobias Titz, including many images of the Nyangumarta people’s native title determination in 2009, the exhibition has been on display at the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House in Canberra.

As the project tours the Pilbara it will also include photography workshops and community celebrations along with a redeveloped version of the exhibition.  The Marnti Warajanga Pilbara tour dates for exhibitions and workshops are:

  • 3-4 May, Hedland Senior High School
  • 7-8 May, South Hedland Primary School
  • 9-10 May, Wangka Maya Pilbara Aboriginal Language Centre (community BBQ on 9 May)
  • 14-16 May, Strelley Remote Community School (community BBQ on 19 May)
  • 21-24 May, Yandeyarra Remote Community School (community BBQ on 23 May)
  • 28-29 May, Newman Senior High School
  • 30 May, South Newman Primary School
  • 31 May, Newman Primary School (community BBQ on 31 May)
  • 5-7 June, Jigalong Remote Community School (community BBQ on 7 June)

Everyone is welcome to participate in the different events by trying some yandying, taking the children’s trail or having their portrait taken at the photographic workshop.

The exhibition will also be on display in Perth before heading north, from 13-30 April in Central Park.

For more information and to view some of the photographs visit the Marnti Warajanga page at the Museum of Australian Democracy’s website.

Check out YMAC News issue 16

Posted: December 14th, 2011

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The latest issue of YMAC News is now available from our website, featuring some great stories of Traditional Owners in the Pilbara and Midwest looking after their country, culture and heritage.

Click here to read about steps the Nyangumarta people have taken with the State Government to protect their sea country, a legal decision that supports protection of the heritage-listed Weld Range, YMAC staff learning about Aboriginal culture, and some exciting photos of recent law business at Warralong Aboriginal community.

This issue also includes the outcomes of YMAC’s Annual Regional Meetings, information about YMAC’s operations this summer, and a feature introducing two members of our Board of Directors, Selina Stewart and Ben Roberts.

If you would like to request hard copies of YMAC News or join our e-subscribers list and get information first, please contact

Eighty Mile Beach management plan now open for comment

Posted: October 5th, 2011

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Janet Stewart, Minister Marmion and Nyaparu Rose

Last week in Broome, the WA Minister for Environment Bill Marmion released the Indicative Management Plan for the proposed Eighty Mile Beach Marine Park. Nyangumarta traditional owners Nyaparu Rose and Janet Stewart attended the announcement on friday, as the Nyanguamrta people have had a significant involvement in the development of the Plan.

In a statement, Minister Marmion said, “The proposed Eighty Mile Beach marine park will provide protection for a unique and spectacular part of the lower west Kimberley coastline, while providing for sustainable tourism use and enjoyment of the area and the maintenance of Aboriginal culture and heritage.”

Eighty Mile Beach is an area rich in biodiversity and cultural heritage, and it is very important to the Nyangumarta people to use their vast traditional knowledge to manage the area responsibly.

The Management Plan, which will guide management of the park for the next ten years, is now open for public comment until 20 January, 2012. For more information or to download the Management Plan, go to .

Nyaparu Rose features in North West Telegraph

Posted: September 8th, 2011

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This week, Nyaparu Rose featured in the North West Telegraph and The West online where she discussed her recent State Land Care Award for the Pilbara Sea Country Project and her plans for Nyangumarta self determination.

To view the article, click here or open attached PDF;

YMAC wins National Landcare Award

Posted: August 25th, 2011

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YMAC’s Senior Community Liaison Officer, Nyaparu Rose, has today won the ‘Leighton Holdings Indigenous Award’ at the 2011 WA Landcare Awards.

The awards are part of a conference being held in conjunction with the 7th International Symposium on Digital Earth (ISDE7) at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Nyaparu Rose was nominated by YMAC for her work with Traditional Owners on the Pilbara Sea Country Plan project. Congratualtions Nyaparu on your success and we look forward to soon hearing more news about the successful project. 

Learning about country and culture

Posted: August 22nd, 2010

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This month, YMAC staff and Directors participated in cultural awareness training at 80 Mile Beach on Nyangumarta country. Staff were taken by the Nyangumarta people to visit sites fo significance, to fish and hunt traditional foods. Nights around the campfire were spent listening to dreamtime stories, learning traditional dances and hearing about the Aboriginal kinship system. Damper making and hunting turkey were favourite activities resulting in tasty camp cook-ups. Thanks to the Nyangumarta people for the wonderful experiences and memories of the trip.

Nyangumarta share environmental knowlege

Posted: February 11th, 2010

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Nyangumarta Traditional Owners are working with the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) to conserve the special marine environment of the Eighty Mile Beach area.

Consultation has been undertaken over 18 months between the Nyangumarta people, Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation (YMAC) and the Marine Policy and Planning Branch of DEC. In addition, DEC has been working with six other native title groups along the Pilbara coast to investigate the idea of marine parks and reserves.

Engagement with the Nyangumarta people
· In separate groups, men and women recorded sites of resource use and special features. From these mapping exercises, the working group recognised a number of important cultural areas along Eighty Mile Beach.

· Traditional Owners also created seasonal harvest calendars, revealing the key marine resources for the Nyangumarta people.

· Site visits to important cultural areas allowed Nyangumarta people teach DEC about their connection with coastal and sea country. The Nyangumarta people have an intricate knowledge of their country and retain a strong connection through sacred sites and ceremonial activities.

· A brainstorming session was also held to explore the future aspirations of the Nyangumarta people for the coastal strip. Protecting cultural sites, stories and songlines’ was regarded by the Nyangumarta people as the most important component of any proposal for a marine park in the area.

· Nyangumarta aspirations for their coastline and sea country are best summed up by the phrase “Ngalpa warran, ngalpa marrngu”, which translates to “Healthy country, healthy people”.

Nyangumarta Traditional Owner, Nyaparu Rose said, “The best part about the process was that DEC came to the people. They sat down and learned from us. We taught about the seasons, about hunting and fishing, about bush foods. It was also a chance for young Nyangumarta people to go out on country and learn from their Elders. So it was like a workshop for our younger generations too.”

Image: Nyangumarta Traditional Owners with DEC representatives on a site visit.

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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