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Warlpiri Rangers

05/12/2010

Steered by a Yapa Management Committee, Warlpiri Rangers carry out Environmental conservation work on Warlpiri lands, using strong two-way – Yapa and Kardiya- land management principles. Management Committee members come from Yuendumu, Nyrripi and Willowra communities. The Committee founded the concept of the Indigenous Protected Area or IPA. The Southern IPA is on Warlpiri Lands.

IPA’s are similar to, but more than National Parks. The IPA is driven and strengthened by Yapa Knowledge and principles of caring for country. Conservation work done by the Rangers includes surveying for bio-diversity, Walpirriji (Bilby) monitoring, fire management, and some work with Granites Mines and Slowe Ecological Services.

Warlpiri Rangers are permanent employees of CLC. Employment as a Ranger is open to Walpiri people with specific skills sets to do the important work of caring for country.

Fire Management work includes studying satellite imagery by the Land Council and Bush Fires NT; training in bush fire management; talking with Traditional Owners to find where burning needs to be done, for example in clumps of grass; going out in the cold time to burn areas, to reduce the impact and potential of large wild fires in the hot time; and regenerating vegetation, to make it easier for people to get bush tucker such as bush turkey.

The Management Committee works on the basis of four guiding principles.

* The first is to assist and ensure the Central Land Council (CLC) do environmental work and education, according to Warlpiri Law concerning country.
* The second is to carry out customary land management through Indigenous Ecological Knowledge (IEK) methods.
* The third is to stop new threats to bio-diversity and land conservation. Threats from weeds, feral animals and humans. The last South IPA Committee meeting was held recently at Mission Creek, with the Yuendumu Management Committee. Here the Rangers talked about and shared work stories, as well as gave a good review of the work they are doing to combat weeds. Spraying Parksonia – a weed of national significance – requires urgent attention to remove, as well as rubber bush, and couch grass.
* The fourth is to provide jobs on country for Warlpiri people – jobs that involve getting out on country to do vital conservation and land management work, using the two-way approach. Keeping culture and law strong in preserving and protecting country from new and not so new threats, work that has always been done, for many centuries, by the Warlpiri. Therefore this dynamic process of land management is a good fit for the Rangers in the Central Region of Australia, who are excelling in their work, and doing their people proud.

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