Island country: aboriginal connections, values and knowledge of the Western Australian Kimberley islands in the context of an Island Biological Survey

Records of the Western Australian Museum Supplement 81(1):145, January 2013
Tom Vigilante, J. Toohey, A. Gorring, Kim Doohan

Access the paper – DOI: 10.18195/issn.0313-122x.81.2013.145-182

ABSTRACT – Our paper describes Aboriginal connections, values and knowledge of the Kimberley islands and their resources in the context of a terrestrial biological survey of 24 islands, initiated by the Western Australian Government and coordinated by the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC). The Kimberley islands represent part of the traditional lands of Aboriginal people in the region and hold great signifi cance and value for them. The Kimberley Land Council (KLC) facilitated the participation of 50 Aboriginal Traditional Owners in this survey, which spanned fi ve Native Title areas, three of which have now been determined (Bardi and Jawi, Wanjina Wunggurr Dambimangari and Wanjina Wunggurr Uunguu) and two of which are still in mediation (Balanggarra and Mayala). The KLC and DEC negotiated a research agreement that provided for managed access to sensitive cultural sites, data sharing, the participation of Traditional Owners in fi eld work alongside scientists and input by Traditional Owners in the fi nal publications and recommendations resulting from this survey.Our paper also places the island survey and its fi ndings into the broader context of Indigenous Natural and Cultural Resource Management (INCRM) in the Kimberley region, including the development of Indigenous Protected Areas and Indigenous Rangers, and other projects such as fi re abatement and tourism management, along with traditional management practices which operate independently from formal management programs.

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