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Wangan & Jagalingou Community Calls to Action to Protect Sacred Country

The Wangan and Jagalingou community call on Adani to immediately withdraw from their country as per their eviction notice and call us to action in support.

Photograph: Uncle Adrian and W & J Mob / Standing Our Ground

Uncle Adrian Burragubba is the tribal leader of the Wangan and Jagalingou community and W & J Nagana Yarrabayn senior cultural custodian. He is the face you see in the newspaper and on the television protesting loudly about his mob’s fight against the infamous coal company Adani.

Adani wants to use the Wangan and Jagalingou mob’s ancestral lands, waters, and their sacred Doongmabulla Springs for their Carmichael coal mine.

These lands are sacred to Uncle Adrian and the Wangan and Jagalingou mobs who are the  Cultural Custodians of a vast area of land in the Galilee Basin in Central-Western Queensland. As the Tribal Warriors for the Wangan and Jagalingou people of the Galilee Basin the W&J Nagana Yarrabayn Cultural Custodians are evoking their ancient lore as Cultural Custodians which is to protect country from those who wish to exploit their Country’s natural and cultural resources. It is their responsibility to keep strong their connection to and presence on country in order to maintain their cultural custodianship of their land, waters and especially their sacred Doongmabulla Springs.

 The W&J Nagana Yarrabayn Cultural Custodians’ roles come from their lores and customs and their relationship to their Ancestor dreaming. The W & J Cultural Custodians hold the responsibility to monitor any damage or destruction to their Country and then cultural protocol is to hold those who wish to harm Country accountable. As the Wangan & Jagalingou Family Council website states “For thousands of years, we have been custodians of this land and it is our responsibility to protect our land, water, people, history and totems. Our totem is the bee, or Kub-bah in our traditional language”.

In his request for urgent Ministerial intervention to the Hon. Meaghan Scanlon, Minister for the Environment and the Great Barrier Reef and Minister for Science and Youth Affairs, Uncle Adrian stated that “Importantly to us, we know that the mine will drain the life out of our Country and destroy our dreaming and our sacred site if it proceeds unchecked. It will be catastrophic, and every bit as destructive to our land and culture, and as hurtful to our people, as the blasting of the caves at Juukan Gorge”.

If you are unfamiliar with Juukan Gorge then you would know it better as the Rio Tinto Blasting which devastatingly demolished a 46,000 + year old rock shelter in Western Australia. The rock shelters were demolished for an incoming iron ore mine courtesy of Rio Tinto. If approved, the large volume of water extraction included in Adani’s Carmichael mines water plans would give birth to environmental damage to the sacred site that would be irreversible. These destructive actions by Adani would result in an ongoing loss of connection to country for Wangan and Jagalingou mob and to their culture.  

It is because of their sacred connection to Country that Uncle Adrian and the Wangan and Jagalingou community have rejected a Land Use Agreement with Adani for the construction of the Carmichael mine on their traditional lands. The Wangan and Jagalingou community do not consent to the Carmichael mine on their ancestral lands and they do not and will continue to refuse any of Adani’s offers on signing away their traditional land ownership and rights to their mother Country.

 The Queensland Government so far have failed to listen to the W&J mob’s call to action. The community have raised their plea warning for help only for them to fall onto deaf ears. It now falls to the Wangan and Jagalingou community led by Uncle Adrian who will continue to protect and defend their country until Adani has packed their packed bags and vacated their sacred country. Uncle Adrian and the Wangan and Jagalingou community call on Adani to immediately withdraw from their country as per their eviction notice to the conglomerate giant.

This call to action is significant not just for the mob in Central-Western Queensland but all mob around this country as we are all in a continuous fight to protect our country from the ongoing effects of settler-colonialism. Settler-colonialists like Adani and Rio Tinto will never be able to fully understand that our Country is an extension of who we are as the First Peoples of this land. They will always walk on this land as “visitors” and “explorers” but we as First Nations Peoples will always have our connection to her, for she is our mother and we are her children.

You can help to strengthen their demands to Minster Scanlon expressing your support for the W&J cultural custodians and their call to action to protect the sacred Doongmabulla Springs. You can do this by emailing her at [email protected] and cc the W&J mob in at [email protected] so they can see your messages too.

If you would like to further support the Wangan and Jagalingou communities fight to protect their ancestral lands you can sign the petition here and donate to help them so that they may continue their call to action against Adani’s Carmichael coal mine.

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