Tra­di­tional owner group re-formed

Whitsunday Times - - WHITSUNDAY NEWS AND VIEWS -

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.

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