[An update from Bush Heritage's conservation partnership with the Bunuba people of the southern Kimberly, Western Australia.]
Colourful sticky notes and slow cooked killer (wild cow) can mean only one thing… a Healthy Country planning workshop is underway. Bunuba held their first community workshop out on the banks of the mighty Fitzroy River this March. The Fitzroy, surging with wet season flood water, provided an inspiring backdrop to the three day event.
After being welcomed to Dunngu country by traditional owner Mary Akin the Bunuba participants hooked into the first stages of the conservation action planning the backbone of developing a Healthy Country Management Plan. We’d arranged for a killer that we bush-boned (butchered out in the bush where it was killed) for Mary and family who cater the “killer from the chiller”. A meat lovers diet for all comers with the highlight (apart from the inspired cultural info on the colourful planning sticky notes) being the ground oven slow cooked beef. It had everyone coming back for more… more and then some more.
The Healthy country plan is closely intertwined with national park joint management negotiations and a clear pathway forward for both projects was established at the workshop by the Bunuba Country and Culture committee.
We've chosen the next on-country meeting site for early May. We'll venture to a portion of country recently recognised as Bunuba land in their second native title claim. Going to less visited country like this will be an emotional trip for some old people and will provide the impetus for working through the next stage of conservation action planning. This is where the Bunuba will rank the 'health' of the cultural and country values that they've identified this time around, and will decide goals and strategies for their long term management.