Country, Culture, People, Future

2011

Christmas Shutdown

Posted: December 16th, 2011

Filed under:

YMAC will be closed for the holidays from 22 December 2011, reopening 3 January 2012. We look forward to working with the Traditional Owners of the Midwest and Pilbara and other stakeholders in the new year.

Check out YMAC News issue 16

Posted: December 14th, 2011

Filed under: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The latest issue of YMAC News is now available from our website, featuring some great stories of Traditional Owners in the Pilbara and Midwest looking after their country, culture and heritage.

Click here to read about steps the Nyangumarta people have taken with the State Government to protect their sea country, a legal decision that supports protection of the heritage-listed Weld Range, YMAC staff learning about Aboriginal culture, and some exciting photos of recent law business at Warralong Aboriginal community.

This issue also includes the outcomes of YMAC’s Annual Regional Meetings, information about YMAC’s operations this summer, and a feature introducing two members of our Board of Directors, Selina Stewart and Ben Roberts.

If you would like to request hard copies of YMAC News or join our e-subscribers list and get information first, please contact srosenfeld@ymac.org.au.

2011 Annual Regional Meetings

Posted: December 9th, 2011

Filed under: , , , , , , , , ,

 

Yamatji Committee Deputy Chair Roy Belotti and Chair Peter Windie
The 2011 Annual Regional Meetings (ARMs) were held in Meekatharra on November 19 and South Hedland on November 26. All YMAC members were invited to attend to vote on a number of resolutions and to raise any questions about YMAC’s operations.
Unfortunately, a loss in the Meekatharra community meant that it was not possible for many members to attend the meeting on 19 November.
YMAC staff, Regional Committee members, and the members present at the meeting offered their sincere condolences to the family of the man who had recently passed away.
There were seven vacant positions on the Yamatji Regional Committee, and the following people were elected:
Gloria Fogarty
Victor Mourambine
Ron Simpson
Pam Mongoo
Paul Baron
Kathleen Musulin
Deceased Person
At a special Yamatji Regional Committee Meeting held immediately after the ARM, Paul Baron was re-elected to the vacant position on the Board of Directors.
Peter Windie and Roy Bellotti were re-elected unopposed as Chair and Deputy Chair respectively.
Sadly, since his election, one of the Yamatji Regional Committee members has passed away. The YMAC staff, Board and Committee members offer condolences and sympathy to the family of the deceased.

The Pilbara ARM was well attended and accepted the Nyangumarta people’s decision to appoint Dianne Stewart as their representative on the Regional Committee, replacing David Wright. The Committee thanked Mr. Wright for his long service.

Important Announcement: Seasonal heritage survey break

Posted: November 3rd, 2011

Filed under: ,

For many Aboriginal communities in the Midwest and Pilbara, December to January is a special time of year to observe cultural obligations and practices. This means different things for different communities, but for many people it involves passing sacred, ancient knowledge from elders to young people, and practicing rituals and ceremonies to maintain connection with country and culture. These important activities often take Aboriginal people out on country for several days or weeks at a time.

Out of respect for these essential cultural obligations and practices, and so as not to interfere with them, YMAC will not be conducting any heritage surveys between 14 December and 1 February. It is very important that culturally knowledgeable Aboriginal people attend heritage surveys on their country, and these are the very people who are most involved with cultural obligations on country.

Any heritage survey requests received after 14 December will be scheduled to commence after 1 February. Thank you for your understanding.

Weld Range gets media attention

Posted: November 1st, 2011

Filed under: , , ,

The Weld Range, in Wajarri Yamatji country, has been getting alot of media attention lately. Since it was included on the National Heritage List earlier this year, the National Native Title Tribunal has made the unusual ruling that a mining lease should not be granted there because of the significance of the area to Traditional Owners.

This week the ABC has published an informative story highlighting the historical importance of Wilgie Mia and the Wajarri Yamatji people’s dedication to its maintainance and protection.

Read the ABC story here

2010/11 YMAC Annual Report now available

Posted: October 25th, 2011

Filed under: , ,

YMAC is proud to release our Annual Report for the 2010-11 financial year. In addition to our complete financial statements, the report also contains many highlights from the year, a message from the CEO, a report from the Board of Directors and many beautiful pictures of country.

Click here to download our Annual Report from our website or email srosenfeld@ymac.org.au to request a hard copy.

YMAC welcomes the Auditor General’s findings on heritage

Posted: October 17th, 2011

Filed under: , , , ,

YMAC welcomes the findings of the recent Auditor General’s report on compliance with mining conditions, which highlights what Traditional Owners already know: that Aboriginal heritage in WA is not being adequately protected by the State.


The Auditor General found that the Department of Indigenous Affairs (DIA), which administers the Aboriginal Heritage Act, has failed in its responsibility to monitor compliance with conditions it places on miners for protection of heritage sites. The report states that DIA “has only undertaken inspections of heritage sites when responding to complaints it received, but has taken no enforcement action when it has found non-compliance.”

Peter Jeffries, Acting CEO of YMAC, said, “The AHA operates more as an approval mechanism for the destruction of Aboriginal heritage than as a means for protecting it. YMAC has worked hard over the years to make sure agreements are in place between native title groups and companies to protect heritage. If it weren’t for these private agreements, there would be no real protection for Aboriginal heritage in areas of high development like the Pilbara and Midwest. This report has shown that there are no consequences for illegally destroying Aboriginal heritage in the course of mining projects.”

The report highlights the need to improve the processes for protecting Aboriginal heritage in WA. A review of the Aboriginal Heritage Act was announced in June 2011, but past reviews have not led to improvements in the system.

“We sincerely hope that the review of the Aboriginal Heritage Act leads to major reform that takes into account the importance of our State’s Aboriginal heritage and gives Aboriginal people a significant say in how approvals to destroy heritage are granted,” said Mr. Jeffries.

Eighty Mile Beach management plan now open for comment

Posted: October 5th, 2011

Filed under: , , , , ,

Janet Stewart, Minister Marmion and Nyaparu Rose

Last week in Broome, the WA Minister for Environment Bill Marmion released the Indicative Management Plan for the proposed Eighty Mile Beach Marine Park. Nyangumarta traditional owners Nyaparu Rose and Janet Stewart attended the announcement on friday, as the Nyanguamrta people have had a significant involvement in the development of the Plan.

In a statement, Minister Marmion said, “The proposed Eighty Mile Beach marine park will provide protection for a unique and spectacular part of the lower west Kimberley coastline, while providing for sustainable tourism use and enjoyment of the area and the maintenance of Aboriginal culture and heritage.”

Eighty Mile Beach is an area rich in biodiversity and cultural heritage, and it is very important to the Nyangumarta people to use their vast traditional knowledge to manage the area responsibly.

The Management Plan, which will guide management of the park for the next ten years, is now open for public comment until 20 January, 2012. For more information or to download the Management Plan, go to http://www.dec.wa.gov.au/content/view/6717/2323/ .

NNTT finds Wajarri heritage is more important than money

Posted: September 27th, 2011

Filed under: , , , , , ,

Traditional owner Colin Hamlett in the Weld Range

The National Native Title Tribunal (NNTT) has recently made a very important decision for the Wajarri Yamatji people. The NNTT ruled that four mining tenements in the Weld Range cannot be granted because of the cultural significance of the area to the Wajarri Yamatji people.

This is only the second time that the NNTT has ever made such a decision, and it comes after parts of the Weld Range were accepted on to the National Heritage List earlier this year.

Weld Range Metals, the company that wished to mine the area, has been reluctant to meet with the Wajarri Yamatji people and did not come to agreement over the proposed mining project.
Deputy President Sumner of the NNTT came to the conclusion that, “the interests, proposals, opinions or wishes of the [Wajarri Yamatji people] in relation to the use of the Tenement area should be given greater weight than the potential economic benefit or public interest in the Project proceeding. The Weld Range area (including the Tenement area) is of such significance to the [Wajarri Yamatji people] in accordance with their traditions that mining on it should only be permitted with their agreement.”

The NNTT’s decision was reached after an on-country hearing earlier this year which included visits to important places in the Weld Range. The Wajarri Yamatji people and YMAC staff gave evidence about “caves with rock art, waterholes and old corroboree and ceremonial grounds, all of which remain of particular significance to the [Wajarri Yamatji people] in accordance with their traditions.”

This is a fantastic result for the Wajarri Yamatji people and YMAC congratulates them for their strength in fighting to protect their cultural heritage.

Watch GWN’s coverage of the story here: http://au.gwn7.yahoo.com/w1/video/-/watch/26753825/native-title-tribunal-vetoes-mine/