In Australia, the government returns 160,000 hectares of land to an Aboriginal community

The Eastern Kuku Yalanji will be able to co-manage this national park with local authorities. It is above all the possibility for these people to reconnect with what they call their country. This retrocession is much more than a simple cadastre story. “We can finally come back to our land and live there where we have wanted to live for many years, explains Lyn Johnson, one of the representatives. It is very important this return to our land which we call bubu, because it enriches us and heals us. There are the animals, the ecosystem, which has never disappeared, but now we can return there more easily and live in harmony with it. “

With this decision, the Daintree forest, which is known in particular for sheltering the cassowary, a very beautiful but also very dangerous bird, joins other major sites in Australia, such as Uluru or Kakdu, which are already under Aboriginal management.

The law which defines the rules in this matter was adopted in 1993. Before that, the doctrine in force was the same since the arrival of the English in 1788, namely that Australia was a “terra nullius”, a land without a master. This doctrine has now disappeared but it remains very complicated for the aborigines to win their case. Because, as Romain Fathi, historian and specialist on Australia explains, it is not a civilization of the written word.

“How do you want to document 150 years between colonization and native titles? We will have to be based on oral history, on archeology, we need traces… It’s extremely complicated.”

Romain Fathi, historian

to franceinfo

This difficulty, Allira Alvoen can attest to. She is also one of the representatives of the community which has just won the case. “We have our own traditional world, which has existed since the dawn of the world. But we have also been forced to navigate, live and survive in this western world. It is a very difficult, very long and very tiring process.” No one can say otherwise. The Eastern Kuku Yalanji community filed their first retrocession request over 25 years ago in 1994.

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