Restoration and Reconciliation with First Nations Partners in the Wet Tropics
A vital part of our restoration projects in the Daintree region of Far North Queensland is an understanding of the country and its deep relationship with the indigenous people who reside and interact with it.
The following is an extract from Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation’s recent media release:
Restoration practitioners have recognised Eastern Kuku Yalanji peoples’ cultural knowledge and enduring stewardship of Bubu (Country) in an historic meeting held north of the Daintree River.
Over two days, five restoration groups attended the Daintree Field Day earlier this month, co-hosted by Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation and the Wet Tropics Management Authority.
The charities will now work with Jabalbina and Traditional Custodians to identify shared ecological, social and cultural goals within the region. Jabalbina CEO Josh Paterson said.
Culture still resides in this land. By working together, based on a platform of mutual respect and a shared desire for Reconciliation, we can develop new initiatives that will help Bama heal Bubu in partnership with others.
As part of the event, Jabalbina’s Indigenous rangers toured and heard about major restoration projects in the Daintree run by Climate Force, Rainforest Rescue and Rainforest 4, Rainforest Conservation Foundation and Queensland trust for Nature. Mr Peterson said:
We currently have three ranger bases and a nursery on Eastern Yalanji Country, supporting our rangers to deliver effective cultural and environmental management. Part of our growth is identifying new ways in which we can collaborate and yield positive social and ecological outcomes for Bama.
In 2021, Eastern Kuku Yalanji peoples took formal ownership of over 160,000 hectares of Country, stretching from Mossman to Cooktown, including the World Heritage-listed Daintree National Park.
Since then, Jabalbina’s On-Country program has highlighted the value of Aboriginal led land management within and adjacent to the World Heritage Area, the Authority’s Executive Director Scott Buchanan said:
Jabalbina has proven it can launch and run successful new programs, started from scratch, that put the social, cultural and economic advancement of Bama first, while recognising the importance of Country.
Representatives from the Wet Tropics Management Authority, Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation, Douglas Shire Council, Terrain NRM, James Cook University, Mossman Botanic Gardens, Queensland Trust for Nature and Rainforest Conservation Foundation participated in the Field Day.
Welcomes to Country were provided by Traditional Custodians Richard Burchill and Clive Sykes.
During the Daintree Field Day, Rainforest Rescue shared stories and knowledge from the building of its new Native Nursery on the old airstrip at Cow Bay, and the restoration progress at Kurranji Bubu (Lot 46 Cape Tribulation Road), which is now a Nature Refuge.
Justin McMahon, Rainforest Rescue’s Land Manager, guided the tour representatives through Kurranji Bubu and highlighted:
“We’re at a site that touches from the highlands to the creeks which head out to the sea, so there’s a great sense of connectivity here. It’s a place that we’re all learning from, with its recent past as a palm oil plantation and its past before that. We’ll be learning together into the future which is promising.”
Rainforest Rescue’s CEO, Branden Barber, welcomed the ongoing partnership connections, including the close bond with Jabalbina as their team takes over the management of our Diwan Native Nursery:
“Partnerships increase resilience and strength – just as the web of life is stronger through greater diversity. Working ever more closely with our FNQ partner organisations we are seeing greater outcomes. Our efforts to train and fund JYAC positions in horticulture and land management are bearing fruit…and lots of trees…and will ultimately lead to increased conservation outcomes that also support reconciliation and self-determination for First Nations. How good is that? So good!”
While the partnerships are fostering new initiatives that progress Reconciliation and cultural understanding within the region, it’s the natural world that will also reap the benefits, as Branden concludes:
“We’re honoured by this partnership and the work we’re doing with the other terrific groups in the Wet Tropics. Nature deserves nothing less than our best efforts.”
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