Country, Culture, People, Future

Yamatji On-Country

The second annual Yamatji On-Country took place at the Bundiyarra Aboriginal Community Aboriginal Corporation in Geraldton on 12 and 13 October. Presented by the Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation (YMAC), the event was re-scheduled for October after extreme weather in August caused the event to be postponed.

First Nations peoples across the Mid West, Murchison and Gascoyne regions came together over the two days to raise issues and work collectively to improve the Yamatji Community.

Youth involvement: a first

In a first for Yamatji On-Country, students from Nagle Catholic College, Champion Bay Senior High School and Geraldton Senior High School workshopped their main areas of concern with teachers and YMAC representatives before speaking at the event. They came up with 12 main issues and concerns before narrowing it down to the top five they felt most important: racism, housing and accommodation, police and justice, education, health and wellbeing and employment, training and economic development.

Shelby Clarke, left, Christian Wright and Trevor Farrell Jnr speaking at Yamatji On-Country.

Shelby Clarke, left, Christian Wright and Trevor Farrell Jnr speaking at Yamatji On-Country.

Community representatives were selected from First Nations people attending the event – Geraldton youth then joined with Elders as they worked together on six key messages they wanted to present to government as calls to action (including many of the concerns the students had put forward):

Shelby Clarke, left, Christian Wright and Trevor Farrell Jnr speaking at Yamatji On-Country.

Christian Wright, left, makes a presentation to Aboriginal Affairs Minister Toni Buti at Yamatji On-Country. Picture: Sammuel Carr

A Call to Action

The Call to Action statement was presented at the event to Aboriginal Affairs Minister Tony Buti, Geraldton Lara Dalton MLA (representing Community Services Minister Simone McGurk) and directors and senior staff from the Departments of Communities, Education and Planning, Lands and Heritage; WA Police and National Indigenous Australians Agency. These representatives also joined the bush tucker barbecue on the evening of day one and shared lunch with students on day two. Entertainment at the barbecue came from Latia Robertson, Zain Laudehr-May, Trevor Farrell, Craig Pickett and Carrum Mourambine.

Dan Kelly from the National Native Title Council also gave a presentation on Federal heritage law reform from First Nations Heritage Protection Alliance (FNHPA). If you missed, it click on the image below to view:

 

Read the Call to Action statement.

Read the media release, issued following the event.

Yamatji On-Country also included stalls from Geraldton Regional Aboriginal Medical Service (GRAMS), Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries – Aboriginal Cultural Centre Community Engagement Planning (First Nations Staff), Wajarri Yamatji Aboriginal Corporation – SKA Employment Expo, First Nations Heritage Protection Alliance, Headspace and Helping Minds.

Stay tuned for details on the 2023 event – information will be posted on this page as it comes to hand.

Read the 2021 media release and related Traditional Owner position statement from the inaugural Yamatji On-Country meeting in Carnarvon.