Country, Culture, People, Future

Njamal

Singing The Train

Posted: November 29th, 2016

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For the next few months AIATSIS will exhibit Singing The Train. The exhibition tells through an Aboriginal song sung in Njamal language, of the first railway that ran between Port Hedland and Marble Bar in the Pilbara between1910 to 1951. The song was created by Aboriginal composer and stockman Larry Brown and passed to his daughter Topsy Fazeldean Brown who performed it in 1964 at Port Hedland.

Larry Brown composed Singing the Train using traditional Aboriginal song styles which expressed his feelings of this new addition of a train line to his Country. Singing The Train is a collaboration between Wangka Maya Pilbara Aboriginal Language Centre, Revolutions Transport Museum and AIATSIS. For more information on Singing The Train, you can visit the website here.

 

 

YMAC News issue 19 is here!

Posted: November 14th, 2012

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The latest issue of YMAC News is now available for download from our website.

It includes a cover story on the visit the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples made to Njamal country, a special feature on Geraldton Aboriginal community organisations, and a landmark agreement between the Nyiyaparli people and BHP Billiton.

There is also a profile of Yamatji artist, poet and academic Charmaine Green, as well as a staff profile of Fiona Mackenzie, our Geraldton office manager. There is important information on YMAC’s heritage services, information about YMAC’s recent audit by the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations (ORIC), and of course lots of photos of people and country.

Click here to download YMAC News from our website.

If you have any stories or photos you’d like to share with us, elders who you think we should profile, questions about native title, or any other letters to the editor, send them to editor@ymac.org.au.

We hope you enjoy this issue of YMAC News.

YMAC Co-Chair speaks in the national media about the future of Njamal country

Posted: August 27th, 2012

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The Njamal people of the Pilbara region of WA welcomed a visit by United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, James Anaya on their country last week. Professor Anaya visited the site of a joint venture between the Njamal people and Fortescue Metals Group (FMG), the North Star Project.

 

The Njamal People and FMG entered into an agreement in December 2011 that will protect significant cultural sites and lead to the creation of a joint venture to run a mining operation on an orebody adjacent to FMG’s proposed North Star mine.

During the visit, YMAC Co-Chair and Njamal elder Mrs. Doris Eaton spoke to Fairfax media about the joint venture and what it means for Njamal people and country.
Read the full story in the Sydney Morning Herald here.

Professor Anaya had the opportunity to meet with the Njamal people and representatives of FMG to learn more about this unique land access agreement. He also visited significant Njamal heritage sites, including rock art complexes, and spoke with the Njamal people about the effect that mining has had on their community.

 

“I’m grateful to the Njamal people for the opportunity to meet with them on their country, along with representatives of FMG, and learn about a unique and potentially beneficial arrangement with the mining industry”, Professor Anaya said.

Mrs Eaton said “This trip was a good opportunity to show Professor Anaya and the wider community what the Njamal People have achieved through our agreement with FMG. It is important that people see the beauty of our country first hand so that we can all work together to protect our culture, heritage and stories

Download YMAC News issue 17

Posted: March 22nd, 2012

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The latest issue of YMAC News is now available from our website.

It features a ceremony marking a milestone on Badimia country, a unique agreement for the future of the Njamal people, an important legal win for the Kurama and Marthudunera people, and a valuable course attended by YMAC’s co-Chairs.

There are also several new features, including “Respect for elders”, a section profiling respected elders of the Midwest and Pilbara. This issue looks at Ngarla men Charlie Coppin and Stephen Stewart. There is also a new “Frequently asked questions” section and a new column from Christina Colegate, YMAC’s policy officer.

We have also profiled YMAC Committee member Rodney Ryan, staff member Jerry Maher, and community member Dawn Hamlett.

If you have any stories you’d like to share with us, elders who you think we should profile, questions about native title, or any other letters to the editor, send them to editor@ymac.org.au.

We hope you enjoy this issue of YMAC news.

Click here to download your copy.

Check out YMAC News issue 16

Posted: December 14th, 2011

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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.

NAIDOC profile: the Pilbara pastoral workers’ strike

Posted: July 8th, 2011

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Njamal country

In 1946, Aboriginal pastoral workers embarked on the longest strike in Australian history, which was also the first industrial action by Indigenous Australians. They demanded better pay and working conditions, in a time when many Aboriginal stock workers received no cash wages at all, and were not free to leave their employment when they chose.

The strike began on May 1, 1946, at the beginning of shearing season, when the pastoralists were most vulnerable to a loss in Aboriginal labour. It had been planned years earlier by Aboriginal leaders Clancy McKenna, Dooley Bin Bin and Nyaparu Coppin, with white prospector Don McLeod. A group of about 200 elders from 23 different Aboriginal groups met and decided on a strike in 1942, but agreed to wait until the War ended before commencing action.

Hundreds of people walked off more than 20 stations, affecting about 10,000 square kilometres of sheep farming country in the Pilbara. Many of them gathered at different strike camps where they hunted, gathered bush tucker, gathered skins and pearl shell and engaged in mining activities to provide food and money for supplies for all those people in the camps.

For many of the strikers, this was their first experience of economic independence, and it proved life-changing. Many of them never went back to the stations, and instead pursued these money-making activities until some families saved enough to purchase their own stations in the 1950s. Strelley Station, in Njamal country, was one of those, and is still Aboriginal owned today.

Many Aboriginal people were put in chains or jailed for their participation in the strike. Despite the danger they were in and the pressure they faced, the strike continued on until 1949, making it the longest strike in Australian history. Don McLeod said of his fellow organiser Dooley Bin Bin,

It is difficult to exaggerate the intelligence and courage of men like Dooley. He was a highly motivated man who dedicated himself utterly to his task. What he may have lacked in knowledge of the white man’s system he made up for by his absolute resolve and fearlessness.” (McLeod, D. How the West was Lost, self published, Port Hedland (WA), 1984. p.51)

The Pilbara strike paved the way for later protests and industrial action such as the 1966 Gurindji strike that led to equal wages for Aboriginal Australians. The courage and determination of the men and women of the Pilbara who stood up for their human rights in 1946-49 is an inspiration today to the many people who continue to pursue justice on their traditional homelands.

Across Australia every July, NAIDOC Week celebrates the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. In honour of NAIDOC 2011 YMAC is featuring a series of Aboriginal people, organisations and events that contribute to the vibrant Aboriginal culture of the Midwest and Pilbara. For more information on NAIDOC including its history and events happening near you, visit http://www.naidoc.org.au/.