Kimberley Coastal Tourism Project Update – March 2011
The Kimberley Coastal Tourism Project has been working on the tourism aspirations of Dambimangari people whose traditional lands cover land and sea country to the north of Derby, Western Australia.
The Dambimangari Native Title claim covers a large area of remote country of the Kimberley coast. It is very isolated, hard to access and environmentally and culturally significant to the Traditional Owners. The area encompasses the waters of the newly proposed Camden Sound Marine Park, the principal calving habitat for the humpback whale population which migrates annually along Western Australia’s coast, and the outstanding conservation values of the Montgomery Reef system.
The Dambimangari people are working to set-up a tourism business as a way to share their intimate knowledge of the country with visitors, so it can be enjoyed by future generations for years to come.
An on-country planning workshop was held to assist Dambimangari Traditional Owners work through steps to establish a successful tourism business. Kimberley TAFE supported this workshop by providing tourism training units, so Traditional Owners have the necessary skills to make their own tourism venture a success.
As part of setting up their tourism business, the Dambimangari Traditional Owners want to inform tourists of the Indigenous stories and significance of the country, while working to manage access in order to protect these significant sites. Managing Dambimangari country will be the responsibility of the developing Indigenous Ranger program.
Brainstorming sessions were held to discuss ideas on how Dambimangari people would set-up their cultural tourism enterprise, Wanjina Tours. Various things were discussed including what they could offer visitors as part of the cultural tourism experience; what they wanted to share with visitors about the Worrorra language, their culture and traditions; how the Dambimangari Rangers could assist with Wanjina Tours while developing their skills and increasing their knowledge base.
Dambimangari Traditional Owners met with a group of visitors travelling on one of the many tourism expedition boats that visit this area. They want visitors to appreciate and understand why this area is so special and important to their people. As part of the welcome to country, visitors were treated to a traditional smoking ceremony to ensure safe travel while visiting this country.
The tourism action plan that has resulted from the on-country workshop will form part of the big picture in progressing Dambimangari Traditional Owners aspirations for looking after and managing their country.