History was made this week as the Eastern Kuku Yalanji people regained control of their lands and waters in northern Australia.
A 160,213 hectare area of country that includes the ancient Daintree Rainforest — the world's oldest living rainforest at an estimated 180 million years old — was handed back to traditional custodians.
Elders and Traditional Owners were presented with deeds to an area that includes the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Daintree National Park as well as the Ngalba-bulal, Kalkajaka and Hope Islands national parks at a ceremony in northern Queensland last week. The agreement includes land previously recognised under native title as well as an additional 20 per cent of country.
"This is where we belong on country, on bubu — on land," Yalanji traditional owner and Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation director Mary-Anne Port said.
"All our ancestors called us back to home. I broke down — to get it all back in a battle that we've lost so many, young and old, that fought for country and now it's all back."
The Eastern Kuku Yalanji People will manage the national parks jointly with the Queensland government under the Indigenous Management Agreement.
Story via ABC News.
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