For its Traditional Owners the Channel Country is a rich cultural landscape. The rivers and the floodplains are marked with resting places, birthing places, places of ceremony, and provide the foundation for stories, that often begin and end at significant waterholes, that govern tradition, laws, relationships, and ways of being.
“These rivers are more than just a resource for making money. They are as significant to this country as its birds and animals; its people and our stories all depend on the rivers.”— George Gorringe
Mithaka Traditional Owner
“If you look after your land, it helps you out in return.”— Josh Gorringe
Mithaka Aboriginal Corporation
“The Channel Country is my mother’s country – Wangkangurru/Yarluyandi country. I grew up on the banks of Cooper Creek, swimming in all the rivers. We don’t want it fracked, pumped, dried out or damned.”—Karen Monaghan
For the Traditional Owners, caring for country is more than a matter of economic prosperity, it is a sacred and ancient traditional responsibility carried forward from mother to daughter, father to son and includes social, environmental, and cultural considerations.
Traditional people live by the seasons and think of country as their mother and of water as the sacred lifeblood, keeping them connected through hunting, fishing, and ceremonial practices.
We are kept strong and understand our culture by connecting to the stories and songs that live in our country, and through them continue to observe our own traditional lore, customs, cultural boundaries and obligations..Our Water, Our Future Statement– April 2019
Traditional Owners from across the Channel Country have worked hard for many years to secure lasting protections for the rivers and floodplains.
At a large First Nations forum held in Longreach in October 2019, the Lake Eyre Basin Traditional Owner Alliance (the Alliance) was formed to advocate for the rights and responsibilities of Traditional Owners as they relate to the decision-making and management of the free-flowing rivers of the Lake Eyre Basin. From this forum, the Healthy Water, Healthy Future Statement was released and endorsement given to previous Traditional Owner declarations- the the Our Water, Our Future Statement (April 2019) and the Tibooburra Resolution (2011). All of these position statements support maintaining the free-flowing nature of the Lake Eyre basin rivers and prohibiting unconventional gas activities from the floodplains of the Channel Country.
To learn more about the aspirations of the Lake Eyre Basin Traditional Owner Alliance and read the statements please visit their website.