Windmills and other indigenous challenges - The Bunuba Partnership

on 16 Dec 2015 
Bunuba HC team

I’ve never before been as exposed to such recent contact history as here in the Kimberly, while re-experiencing from my Kakadu years, the many and varied challenges remote Aboriginal communities  historically and continue to face. In a whirlwind of emotions I can listened and smile as two elder women tell their story of how they literally walked out of the desert as young girls with their parents, describing how terrified they were when they saw a windmill for the 1st time! I’m then dismayed of the in-living-memories communicated of the brutal takeover of the traditional Bunuba lands with grandparents killed and chained for resisting. It’s comically sad to hear of how some early innovative Fitzroy leaders applied for and received their Australian citizenship as the only means to gain entry to the pub.

This most recent of history combined with the remoteness from metropolitan hubs and there resources, extremes of climate, providing commonplace services such as utilities, housing, teachers, schools, health services, real employment opportunities that create an incentive to go to school and work, affordable food, fuel are real and substantial challenges here. Struth, they’ve been the crux of state and federal indigenous politics for years.

It’s in this challenging caldron that Bush Heritage staff are engaging in through our indigenous partnership initiatives. At its core Bush Heritage sees significant opportunities for conservation and biodiversity outcomes on traditional lands, but we know so much more is achieved. Bush Heritages Healthy Country projects support, resource, train and increase local capacity by working with indigenous groups at their invitation - on their lands. The spin offs are social and cultural outcomes that give as much if not more satisfaction. An example of this is Bush Heritage investment in building Bunuba’s internal governance capacity in parralel with the Healthy Country Plan. It will lead to greater empowerment, successful funding applications, employment – their own ranger’s long term viability, reconnecting with country by working on country, and an ability to manage threats to their conservation and cultural values. We know this because of our past and ongoing top end partnerships successes such as Wunambal Gaambera and Warddeken.  

It’s with confidence then that Bush Heritage and our Bunuba partners are working on developing the Bunuba Jalangurru Muwayi (Healthy Country) Plan. The Jalangurru Muwayi is a little bit special though as it will underpin the Joint Management Agreement Bunuba and WA department of Parks and Wildlife (DPAW) are seeking to enter into. The Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) identifies the development and submission of the Bunuba Jalangurru Muwayi as the basis of the conservation/ National Park management plans required to complete the Joint Management process. The scope of the conservation, cultural and social economic outcomes that will result from a successful Bunuba Healthy COuntry plan are significant. Bush Heritage, Bunuba & DPAW all recognize this opportunity and are investing heavily, to ensure this ground breaking partnership delivers at all level for the future of Bunuba peoples and their amazing lands.

The Fitzroy has started to flow again here and it’s the time for fishing, family and our individual cultural activities white fella and black fella style. So see you all in 2016 after the wet.


Bunuba HC team