Local Cultural Connections
Indigenous Traditional Owners are recognised as the true, original owners of the Wet Tropics NRM region with ongoing rights and obligations.
They are entitled to be actively involved in all stages of the Wet Tropics Plan for People and Country from inception through to implementation and also including monitoring. Their involvement ensures that Aboriginal cultural values for Country (including cultural heritage and native title rights) are recognised and protected in all NRM Projects.
More importantly, there is enormous benefit from taking a collaborative approach to natural resource management.
Not only does it ensure that the precious cultural sites and values of the region are protected and where possible enhanced, it also recognises and respects the significant contribution Rainforest Aboriginal people can make to the management of the cultural and natural resources of the region.
When Rainforest Aboriginal people generously share their knowledge and experience, it brings a rich cultural dimension to natural resource management and adds enormous value.
Protocols for Engaging Traditional Owners
Building partnerships with Traditional Owners requires a respectful approach, just like any partnership. Thousands of years of connection to Country have resulted in complex social structures, each with their own protocols for who can speak on behalf of Country.
There are 20 Traditional Owner Tribal groupings with over 100 clans and family groupings. It can be hard to know who to contact.
A contact list for Traditional Owner groups in the Wet Tropics has been prepared. It can be accessed by clicking on this link to Plan Partners, then in the list of filter options on the left, checking Cultural Connection under the Theme.
There is also an image below (coming soon) showing the Traditional Owner Tribal groupings for the region. An interactive map of traditional owner tribal groups and contacts is currently under construction.