WA staff visit Martu Country to celebrate IPA declaration

on 27 Apr 2013 

Dave, Myself and an associate 'Rosco' traveled to Martu country last week to celebrate the Birriliburu Indigenous Protected Area Declaration Ceremony. Bush Heritage Australia was invited to attend the ceremony by the Central Desert Native Title Services.

Central Desert Native Title Services Limited (Central Desert) is a recognized native title service provider for the native title claimants and land holders of the Central Desert region of Western Australia. Their service area covers approximately 830, 935 square kilometers, nearly one third of Western Australia. The Central Desert Native Title  team consist  of Anthropological, Legal, Community Engagement and Business Services staff, with their wealth of knowledge and experience, are committed to advancing and protecting the native title rights and interests of our constituents.

Dave Rosco and I headed up to the ceremony site  on Sunday last week. We arrived at well six on the Canning Stock route Monday afternoon. On the journey up to the ceremony site we passed thru a range of great country.

The Ceremony was very well attended with around 200 people. Senior Martu Elders and community were in attendance along with a healthy smattering of Representatives from the Australian Government, Labor, Liberal and Green politicians and a heap of people from across the Rangelands all gathering to celebrate the IPA declaration. Fred Chaney whom is the Chairman of Central Desert Native Title Services spoke passionately about the opportunities for Aboriginal people working and living on country now that they have Native Title.  It was a real treat to be part of this gathering. Dave and I met up with many great people and enjoyed networking and being there representing Bush Heritage Australia.

Following the IPA celebrations we headed out with the Birriliburu Rangers to the Carnarvon Ranges. The purpose of this visit was to learn first hand about the land management planning and activities underway in the IPA area and share BHA experience with this group. We travelled and camped thru the Carnarvon Ranges sleeping under the stars, learning more about Martu Culture, seeing amazing artwork and freshwater springs, undertaking Spinifex Burning and tracking down some active, yes ACTIVE Bilby burrows!! The pictures in the gallery show one of the active Bilby mounds found by the Ranger crew. What made this find even more extrodinary was that the burrows were all found without the use of any  digital technology! It reminded me how differant western science and indigenous understandings of the land are.

It was a great 6 days getting to know Traditional Owners whom are now once again  actively managing the 6.5 million hectares as part of the Birriliburu Indigenous Protected Area. Dave and myself learnt loads and made it very clear that BHA would be their to support this fantatstic work in one way or another if our input was ever required.

Oh yes  -  loads of tea and meat was consumed.