It was a huge honour to be invited to Broome and the Kimberley, to meet with the Martuwarra-Fitzroy River Council, in late June/early July this year.
The always remarkable Dr Anne Poelina, invited me to join a ‘Circle of Knowledge’ with other supporters of the Council, at a week of meetings in Broome. It was a real delight to meet with the traditional custodians of so many Countries throughout the Kimberley, and to visit the mighty, beautiful Martuwarra River. The week of meetings included a strong focus on water plans for the region, and it was a unique opportunity to hear from Indigenous and non-Indigenous people working across water justice, social justice and Indigenous governance projects across the region.
I was invited to give a presentation about the Greenprints initiative and AELA’s bioregional governance and Earth-centred work. My AELA/Greenprints colleague James Lee and I shared updates about our work, and AELA is pleased to now be formally working with the Council, using the Greenprints framework to assist with research and other projects, that support the Council’s initiatives.
As stated on the Martuwarra Fitzroy River Council website, the Council “believes rivers are the lifeblood of our Nation. The Council is focused on the Right To Life of the sacred and National Heritage Listed Martuwarra Fitzroy River. By bringing the Voices of the Martuwarra together, this protects the River from proposed and existing invasive developments. Since its inception the Martuwarra Fitzroy River Council has attracted the attention of leading scientists and researchers, both in Australia and internationally, through its ability to bring together the majority of Traditional Owner groups from the region.”
AELA will do everything it can to support Indigenous leaders like Dr Anne Poelina, and all the members of the Council. Their work is leading the way in showing how ancient regional legal systems, such as their Wunan Law, should be the pathway for an ecologically and socially just future.
As stated by Anne Poelina:
“My ‘liyan ’is my moral compass … is the ‘feeling ’which helps me to navigate my movements on Country and it helps me to read people and determines my relationship with them. This ‘feeling or liyan ’is deeply personal and guides my life journey with human and non-human beings; the plants, the trees, the birds, and other animals. It is ingrained in my inner spirit and enshrines my rights and responsibility to our Mardoowarra, river of life. This is the law of relationships! It is personal, spiritual and not for human beings to determine, it is the Law of the Land, not the Law of Man”. Dr Anne Poelina