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  Cairns Post 27/10/2005
 

Cairns Post 27/10/2005

Cairns Post misquotes Traditional Owners

In an article published today the Cairns Post misquotes Kalpowar traditional owners.

The Cairns Post misquoted Kalpowar traditional owners today. It reported "They yesterday agreed to negotiate squatters rights with the vets before the land was officially handed back by the State Government". In fact the traditional owners have simply agreed to meet with the Vietnam Veterans to discuss and hopefully resolve their ongoing access to the 5 acre area known as Pandanus Park that lies within traditional Indigenous lands.

For many years Vietnam Veterans have come in numbers of up to 500 to the Kalpowar lands to meet and fish.

This land is the traditional country of the Urratyingu and Thalpirriya Clans (Rootsey & Bassani families) the Muunthiwarra and Bagarrmugu clan groups (collectively referred to as the Guugu Warra), Guunduurwarra, Balnggarrwarra, Nhirrbanh, Wundalwarra, Wunurrwarra and Junjuwarra Clan Groups (collectively referred to as Gugu Yimithirr), the Lamalama people (a language name which encompasses about 35 clan groups); and The Yitthuwarra people.

The Queensland government acquired the Kalpowar property as part of the Cape York Conservation Zone proposal. It totals approximately 409,400 ha. The property is currently Unallocated State Land, subject to a Permit to Occupy held by the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service.

The aggregation is subject to a native title claim which is currently in mediation. Negotiations with representatives of the traditional owners are advanced.

The primary objective has been to negotiate a tenure outcome consistent with the aspirations of the State and the Traditional Owners, with a view to partitioning the property between areas of national park and areas of Aboriginal freehold land.

It is expected that in the final negotiations a significant proportion of Kalpowar Station will become a National Park and another proportion will become Aboriginal Freehold. The balance of th eland will be reserves.

Once again traditional owners are more tolerant towards their non-Indigenous counterparts than has ever been displayed towards their countrymen.

It should be noted that members of the traditional owners community have also served in Vietnam and in all of the major wars. Furthermore due to the establishment of an RAAF base at Cooktown on the 16th May, 1942 the community was traumatically removed to Woorabinda, 2000 kilometres south of Cooktown. The forced removal was a major tragedy. Between November 1942 and March 1943, 60 members of our community of 235 died. They had never experienced cold or frost before. Dengue fever, flu and cold took an enormous toll.

Mr. Les Hiddens, the spokesperson for the Vietnam Veterans, also known as the Bush Tucker man, has gained a considerable amount from Indigenous people. It is surprising that he has referred to the claim of the traditional owners to their country as "the Indigenous Industry".

The ISX wishes the traditional owners of Kalpowar all the best with the return of their land. We would urge all friends and members of the ISX to send an email to the Premier of Queensland Peter Beattie in support of justice and fair play for Kalpowar traditional owners. The Premiers email address is: thepremier@premiers.qld.gov.au We would also ask you to talk to your friends and neighbours about this issue.



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