Country, Culture, People, Future

Pilbara Regional Committee

Natalie Parker

Co-Chairperson, Pilbara Region – Board of Directors, Chairperson – Pilbara Regional Committee

Natalie is a Nyiyaparli woman from the central Pilbara region who is well known in the community for her leadership capacity.

Natalie represents her community on the board of the Gumula Aboriginal Corporation, Gumula Enterprises Pty Ltd, Meta Maya Aboriginal Corporation as well as being the representative for Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation (YMAC) as a Director of Pilbara Solar Pty Ltd.

Natalie enjoys camping on country and spending quality time with her grandchildren. Her aspirations for the future include improvements in health, education and economic opportunities for Aboriginal people. She also would like to see the recognition of culture and a strong future for all.

Natalie is the YMAC Co-Chairperson – Pilbara Regional Committee.

Mrs Doris Eaton - Njamal and Pitjikarli

Doris Eaton

Deputy Co-Chairperson, Pilbara Region – Board of Directors, Deputy Chairperson – Pilbara Regional Committee

Mrs Eaton is a Njamal and Pitjikarli Elder from the eastern Pilbara region. Her focus is on ensuring younger generations learn strong culture and law from their Elders. In 2009 she was named NAIDOC Female Elder of the Year and, in 2021, she was shortlisted in the Aboriginal category of the Western Australian of the Year Awards. Mrs Eaton completed studies at the Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education in Darwin and has continuously been involved in the development of health programs for Aboriginal women and children, as well as initiatives around care for the elderly. Mrs Eaton was re-elected as Deputy Co-Chairperson – Pilbara Region on the YMAC Board of Directors in June 2021.

Nora Cooke

Nora is an Ngarla woman who played an integral role in her people’s native title determination in 2007.

Nora enjoys the bush life in the Pilbara, including fishing, camping, cooking and hunting. Nora has an in-depth understanding of bush medicine and provides advice to people seeking bush medicine treatments. She also practices her culture by teaching several Aboriginal languages and running cultural awareness training at mine sites and at the Wangka Maya Language Centre.

To Nora, Country means to live freely on the land, gathering food and hunting.

David Cox (Barndu)

David Cox is an elder, applicant, and working group member for the Yinhawangka claim group. He was born and raised on Rocklea Station in Yinhawangka country, and has worked as a stockman mustering sheep and cattle across the Pilbara. In the 1990’s, David moved to the Bellary Springs community where he lives today.

David is passionate about Yinhawangka law, land, and culture. He provided preservation evidence in support of the Yinhawangka claim to the Federal Court in 2014. David was elected as the Yinhawangka member of the Pilbara Regional Committee on 16 May 2017.

Terry Jaffrey

Terry is from the Western Shaw River and a member of the Palyku claim group. He has a long relationship with YMAC and has been an active supporter of native title since 2006. After six years of being a committee member, he took a short break to fulfil professional obligations as Terry liaises with mining proponents and advises on the best interests for his group. He was re-elected to the Pilbara Regional Committee in 2012 and elected to the Board of Directors in November 2014.

Terry was originally involved in the Woodstock/Abydos Heritage Project, located in the East Pilbara region within the traditional Country of the Kariyarra and Palyku people. The area contains numerous sites of cultural and historical importance, including mythological, ceremonial, artefacts, engravings and paintings. This area is currently state heritage-listed, after extensive work. It is Terry’s dream to have this area nationally recognised and eventually world heritage-listed.

Albert Pianta

Albert is a member of the Ngarlawangga native title claim and the Working Group.

He is an active member of the Ngarlawangga and Njamal communities. He has worked in education and continues to focus on getting strong education and training outcomes for the whole community.

Albert was elected to the Pilbara Regional Committee on 8 March 2012.

Raylene Button

Raylene is a Kariyarra-Yindibarndi-Palyku woman from the Mampulunya-Kularnunya-Tjinapi-Jarlingarli-Julimanga clan and Purungu/Karimarra skin group. Born in Port Hedland, she is deeply passionate about creating a positive future for her people. Raylene is the founder and director of Mampulunya Kariyarra, a business providing cultural awareness training, on-Country tours, cultural advice and consulting services. She is university educated and known for her abilities in comprehending the complex negotiations and discussion that occurs in the native title process.

Raylene is proud of her role in founding the Hedland Aboriginal Strong Leaders (HASL)/Julyardi Aboriginal Corporation that has 27 Elders across 14 Pilbara/desert language groups – they teach leaderships skills, culture/heritage knowledge and land management negotiation skills, encouraging children to pursue their dreams. She is highly respected for many other major contributions she has made to her local community and is continuously working with governments at a state, local and federal level. Raylene was elected to the Pilbara Regional Committee in November 2021 and Board of Directors in February 2022.

Ivan Smirke

Ivan Smirke is a member of the Jurruru Working Group, and was elected to the Pilbara Regional Committee in August 2014. Check back soon for a full profile.

Diane Stewart

Diane is a Nyangumarta woman actively involved in the Nyangumarta Warrarn Aboriginal Corporation after being inspired by her Elders who worked hard towards their 2009 Nyangumarta determination. Diane was born in Port Hedland and still lives there today. Diane is proud her family continues to have such a strong connection to Country. Diane feels a great sense of belonging on Country with her family, learning hunting and gathering. Diane is an Aboriginal and Islander Education Officer, working with students, parents and the community for better Indigenous student outcomes. Diane’s current Pilbara Regional Committee term began in June 2021 – Diane was re-elected to YMAC’s Board of Directors at the same time. Diane has previously been on the Board of Directors, first elected in August 2012.

Selina Stewart

Selina is a Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura (PKKP) Traditional Owner and devoted mother and grandmother. She grew up in Carnarvon and Port Hedland and currently lives in South Hedland, working at a local high school. Selina spent several years working towards gaining native title recognition for her community and has fond memories of learning about her Country from her father and grandmother.

Selina’s drive to serve her community is inspired by her father, who was also actively involved in native title, and made sure his daughters could continue in his footsteps. Selina was elected to the Pilbara Regional Committee and Board of Directors in June 2021.