Traditional owner group re-formed
TRADITIONAL owners from the Whitsundays and Mackay once again have a platform to come together and share ideas on caring for their country and promoting traditional culture.
The Traditional Owner Reference Group (TORG) for the Mackay/Whitsunday area was re-formed last week and includes representatives of the Yuwi-bara, Ngaro, Gia, and Koinmerburra traditional owners of the region.
Ngaro elder Aunty Carol Prior said the TORG group was an important way to bring traditional owners together to share ideas, gain feedback and protect traditional land and culture, just like their ancestors did.
The group will also be a key contact point for organisations, government and members of the broader community who need to connect with traditional owners for guidance on traditional values and practices. “All the traditional groups from Mackay and the Whitsundays have come to work together. It is about sharing ideas and caring for our land and country,” Aunty Carol said.
“When we sit at that table we sit as one – to me it is like sitting around a campfire throwing ideas around and sharing thoughts.
“It is important because if we don’t look after our traditional ways and land they will be lost. For example, an ongoing issue we want to come together to stop is illegal poaching and disturbance of native animals like turtles.”
Reef Catchments is supporting the work of the TORG and provides a point of contact for the group. For more information contact Kerensa McCallie on 0429 033 541.
PRESERVING THE PAST: Traditional owners at last week’s TORG meeting in Mackay. Clockwise from left are Carol Prior, Sue West, Bernie Tonga, Jordan Miller, Reef Catchments’ John Franklin, Gary Mooney and George Tonga.