The Environmental Stewardship Resurgence in Walbanga (Yuin Nation) Land and Sea Country project is a collaborative action-research initiative led by Mogo Local Aboriginal Land Council (LALC). The initiative aims at developing a toolkit for Mogo and Batemans Bay LALC rangers to strengthen their capacity to influence environmental management decisions across their Country. It weaves aspirations to genuinely increase Walbanga’s participation in the governance of their territories and support their everyday resurgence through environmental stewardship practices articulating work on Country and Walbanga's philosophies.
As the extent of the damage caused by devastating 2019-2020 bushfires (which engulfed Yuin Country, destroyed 7 community members' houses and Mogo LALC’s building) is yet to be fully assessed and comprehended, the resolution and passion of Mogo and Batemans Bay LALCs, rangers and community to realise these aspirations are stronger than ever.
The project builds on the grassroots Seachange pilot initiative (2015-2019): an action-research partnership between the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research (CAEPR) and Mogo and Batemans Bay LALCs. The Seachange pilot aimed at providing the Walbanga with leverage in future negotiations with the National Parks, the Eurobodalla Shire, Batemans Marine Park and other entities. It focused on co-developing training material and upskilling the rangers to co-design and conduct a survey documenting the cultural significance and biodiversity of their coastal environment.
Incorporating sociocultural, ecological and geolocational data into a single survey and database makes these dimensions and their relationships visible, thereby demonstrating the strong connections between Walbanga peoples and Country, and the need to manage the territories holistically in a manner that is inclusive of their custodians. The project’s findings highlight the significance of Walbanga’s contemporary engagement with their land and sea for their livelihood and wellbeing, despite the multifaceted challenges posed by ongoing colonial processes.
The proposed project is influenced by the scholarship on Indigenous resurgence and renewal of Indigenous laws (Borrows, 2002). Indigenous resurgence “entails community reclamation, restoration, and regeneration of local cultural practices, and embracing a daily existence conditioned by place-based cultural practices” (Corntassel & Bryce, 2012, p. 157). This resurgence happens through revitalising relationships and responsibilities to the land within the possibilities and challenges of the contemporary context (Alfred, 2013).
Building on their knowledge, their relationship to Country and the skills acquired through Seachange, this project will provide opportunities for the rangers to enhance their surveying, analytic and reporting capacities, further expanding their toolkit to document, restore, reclaim and enact their stewardship practices. Together, the rangers and researchers will adapt and streamline the Cybertracker sequences developed during Seachange, use these sequences to conduct surveys on Country and interview key community members.
New sequences will also be created, responding to the rangers’ pre-bushfire aspirations to document the revival of their cultural burning practices. The surveys and report(s) will incorporate considerations for disaster mitigation and management strategies and include tools to survey culturally significant species (bush-food, bush-medicine, art material, etc.). The rangers will also increase their analytic and reporting skills by learning to use ARCGIS-StoryMaps to present the stories emerging from their work.
There are no listed outputs for this project.