Holding our sacred Jagalingou Country


Stories / Monday, September 14th, 2020

Last week we struck a blow for land rights and against Adani, but we will need your support to continue to hold our sacred Jagalingou country.

As a cultural leader for my people, I led my family onto our clan estate to exercise our cultural rights, and continue our work to protect the land and make peace with our ancestors, in the face of Adani’s relentless environmental assault.

After direct confrontation with Adani and the Queensland police, we gained a hold on our ceremonial camp. We brought the law to bear in our favour.

Despite everything that Adani has thrown at us, we are now present on the land near the mine site, holding our Country and defending our birthright to be in the places where our ancestors reside. 

Watch our three-part story of how this unfolded over the last week…

“Ngali yamba nani – Our homelands”

Part 1. Returning to camp
Part 2. Adani’s intimidation
Part 3. Adani concedes

We fight this fight not just for our family, or the whole W&J people, but for all Aboriginal people who are faced with the destruction of their cultural heritage.

We need your support to continue our struggle for land rights – for cultural rights.

Right now, Adani are destroying our culture and Country. While our resistance was sidelined because of the coronavirus pandemic, Adani accelerated the destruction of our land. 

But since the COVID19 restrictions were lifted in Queensland, we began our regular movements around Country. Nowhere is more threatened at this time than our homelands in Jagalingou Country, where Adani’s mine of mass destruction is under construction.

The world reacted in horror when Rio Tinto blew up Juukan Gorge in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. Now the same thing is about to happen in our Country. 

The mine will drain the life out of our Country and destroy our dreaming and the sacred Doongmabulla springs. It will be a catastrophe every bit as destructive to our land and culture, and as hurtful to our people, as the blasting of the caves at the Juukan Gorge. 

The outrageous destruction of Juukan Gorge shows that when it comes to ripping the land for minerals and making money, mining has no respect for First Nations and our cultural rights. Not even when it means the loss of 46,000 years of continuous culture and law embedded in a sacred site.

Our ancestor dreaming is our living law, as old as time and dwelling in the land.

As a First Nations people we have inalienable rights to the land, and the right to practice our culture and to say no to mining. Exercising our cultural rights is what First Nation sovereignty means. Being present on Country is essential to passing our laws and customs on to our younger generations. 

My family have specific totems and laws attached to Jagalingou country – we have to maintain cultural progress and develop that together. Anyone preventing that is in violation of our human rights.

It means nothing to us if Adani says they can manage the environmental impacts. Adani’s project interferes with our self-determination, disrupts our culture and is devastating the land. When the land is destroyed we will cease to be as a people.

Adani is an enemy to the land, the ancestors and our law. When they wave around ‘Indigenous land use agreements’ and talk about ‘cultural heritage management plans’ they are corrupting our law.

Our tribal law does not derive from Native Title statute, which is a legal system to allow others to take our lands and waters from us, or exploit them, without our genuine free, prior and informed consent. It forces us to hand our Country over for destruction. That is not how our law works. 

Under our law, which has been passed on from the beginning of our creation stories, we make the decisions about who comes into our country, and what they can do. Our land is inalienable – it cannot be signed away or sold from under us… by anyone. 

If you respect our laws, which also means you respect Country, you stand with us.

We value your support which allows us to maintain our presence on Country and to strengthen our resistance.

This is our homeland, and we will defend it. 

Please donate to help us maintain our fight to protect Country and meet the mining industry attacks that keep mounting on our land and culture. With your support, we stand stronger. 

Stand strong with us. And please donate to the W&J Council’s “Defence of Country” Fund.

Yours for Country,

Adrian Burragubba, Wangan and Jagalingou cultural leader

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