Karajarri Traditional Owners celebrate 10 years of native title
The Karajarri people marked the 10th anniversary of their native title determination with an on-country celebration in Bidyadanga yesterday.
The Federal Court handed down a native title determination to the Karajarri people on March 12, 2002, recognising them as the rightful owners of their traditional lands.
Karajarri Traditional Owner Lenny Hopiga said native title had strengthened his people’s connection to country.
“We have kept our native title strong and we still take our Karajarri people out on to the land and show them those places the old people took us to tell us the meaning of that dreamtime place,’’ he said.
“We are now teaching the young ones because they will take over from us when we are gone and will be responsible for passing on that knowledge.’’
Mr Hopiga, who was at the determination 10 years ago, said it had been a special day for his people and the anniversary was a time to remember the old people that were no longer here but had been pivotal in securing native title for the Karajarri people.
“Our senior men and women stood at the front and we stood behind them. They worked hard to get us native title. It is important to remember them,’’ he said.
Mr Hopiga said Karajarri people had also been working with other groups in the Kimberley to pass on their knowledge of the native title process.
“Some of those groups have been waiting a long time and some of those old people have passed on. I can understand what they are going through. We are telling them about our experience so they can understand and learn from it,’’ he said.
The Karajarri consent determination was the second to be recognised in the Kimberley with native title granted across 24 275 sqkm of country. The remainder of the Karajarri native title claim was determined in 2004.
KLC CEO Nolan Hunter said the 10th native title anniversary was a historic occasion for the Karajarri people.
“Native title is about respect and recognition of Traditional Owners and highlights the strong links Aboriginal people have to their country, culture and law,’’ he said.
“It also provides Traditional Owners with the right to manage and make decisions about their country while taking control of their futures.’’
Mr Hunter said the KLC, as the Native Title Representative Body for the Kimberley, was working to lodge new claims across unclaimed areas and progressing native title claims towards a consent determination.
“The KLC has successfully negotiated native title across more than 65 per cent of the Kimberley and will continue to work with other Traditional Owners groups to get native title into the future,’’ he said.
Media Release – April 13, 2012
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