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Over two days in June, Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) staff and representatives of the Butchulla Traditional Owners, came together on K’gari to participate in the training program Working with the Mob.
The QPWS Partnerships Team developed the Working with the Mob training program to support its commitment to enhancing cultural competency within the agency. The time together was a great opportunity for QPWS employees to engage with the Butchulla people through an appreciation of history, tradition, culture and respect.
The training offered opportunities to break into informal groups led by Butchulla representatives. These sessions provided an excellent opportunity to learn more about the local Traditional Owners’ protocols, beliefs and values. Other training sessions included topics such as native title, indigenous cultural heritage and developing good working relationships.
Ross Belcher, Principal Ranger, Fraser Coast Area, QPWS shared some of his reflections after the training program:
“It was a pleasure to take part in this initiative on K’gari, which has made a major contribution to maintaining and building on the relationship between the Butchulla Traditional Owners and QPWS. My impression is that the Butchulla people have a strong desire to engage with the current land managers (QPWS staff) to pass on traditional values, stories and aspirations and to build a strong and respectful working relationship. The QPWS staff demonstrate a strong desire to understand the Butchulla story and to positively engage with and contribute to our cooperative relationship. We certainly have people with feet in both camps, Butchulla and other indigenous people employed by QPWS are making an outstanding contribution to K’gari, hopefully we can build the numbers up in good time. Good progress has been made in our collaboration in the management of K’gari, and I hope that in future the Butchulla people will be taking the lead in developing and coordinating more opportunities for sharing of stories and aspirations, and we will be working as one mob protecting the natural and cultural values of K’gari and surrounding Butchulla land and sea. Looking forward to the next meeting ”
Contributed by Moyra McRae, Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, Maryborough
The Recognising & Recording K’Gari’s (Fraser Island) Cultural Heritage project was initiated by the Fraser Island World Heritage Area Indigenous Advisory Committee in 2012 and was delivered by the Butchulla people and Aboriginal Rangers of Fraser Island.
Through strong partnerships, the project provided training to the Butchulla community, leading to additional cultural heritage sites being located including the highly significant Bogimbah Mission grave sites on this World Heritage listed property. The project has established closer ties between the Aboriginal Ranger team and Butchulla elders and broader engagement and stewardship by the Butchulla community with forums, field trips and newsletters.
Judging is currently underway with the announcements to be made at the National Landcare Conference and Gala Awards being held in Melbourne in September. You can also vote for the Indigenous Advisory Committee in the People’s Choice Awards, just click on the icon.
Note: Although you are able to vote in every category, you don’t have to, so just look for the group in the Indigenous Land Corporation Indigenous Landcare Category.