Indigenous rangers have led a series of workshops in far north Queensland aimed at creating stronger ties between Rainforest Aboriginal peoples caring for country in the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.
The first Indigenous Ranger Workshop for the Wet Tropics region was held at Clump Mountain (Djiru country), 135 kilometres south of Cairns last November. The three-day event was hosted by Girringun Aboriginal Corporation with support from the Wet Tropics Management Authority and Terrain Natural Resource Management.
Girringun Aboriginal Corporation - which represents the interest of nine tribal groups across the southern wet tropics region - brought forty-five land managers and practitioners together for the workshop. Participants included rangers from four other Wet Tropics tribal groups: Gunggandji, Yirriganydji (Dawul Wurru Rangers), Mandigalbay Yidinji (Djunbunji Rangers), Eastern Kuku Yalanji (Jabalbina Rangers).
“These opportunities allow all rangers to have a yarn about common issues – the small group sessions were really useful,” Girringun Rangers’ Sean Walsh says.
“There is a strong feeling this event should be annual.”
The rangers and other special guests shared knowledge and experience of working on country through a series of group discussions and presentations.
As a result of the workshop, ranger groups in attendance hope to establish a Wet Tropics Indigenous ranger network in the near future.
“The last couple of days have been very important to build relations with all partners,” Gunggandji man Hilton Noble says.
“We need a strong vison, to move into the future together.”
Building on the success of the Clump Mountain Workshop, Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation hosted the Jalbu Jalbu land mangers workshop in March.
The workshop explored challenges and issues for Indigenous women involved in cultural and natural resource management across the Wet Tropics region. The event’s aim is to establish stronger ties amongst Indigenous women working on country in the Wet Tropics.
“There are high expectations for female rangers to prove themselves in the field, and the workshops were a great way to talk about breaking down barriers," Jabalbina’s Danica Beveen Reisener says.
The Wet Tropics Management Authority will continue to pursue strong partnerships which support Rainforest Aboriginal aspirations to enhance cultural recognition, enhance involvement in World Heritage management and fulfil traditional land management practices.