Ngadju Conservation Aboriginal Corporation Chairman, Les Shultz, and Program Manager, Peter Price.
The Great Western Woodlands in WA’s Goldfields region is larger than the size of Tasmania. In 2017, the Traditional Owners, the Ngadju people were recognised as native title holders in the Federal Court.
In the years since their native title was recognised, the Ngadju people have worked with Rangelands NRM and Gondwana Link. Small grants helped Ngadju to build their capacity to take on bigger projects to manage their country and maintain their culture.
In 2015, Ngadju Conservation developed a Healthy Country Plan with the vision that “Ngadju are connected to our country and our culture, and are keeping places, animals, plants and knowledge healthy for future generations”.
The Healthy Country Plan maps out how the Ngadju will build their capacity and skills, working across traditional Ngadju knowledge and culture within a modern outback society. They will care for Ngadju country and work with both modern scientific knowledge and the wisdom of their ancestors.
After the native title claim was finalised in 2017, Ngadju Conservation received a grant of almost $700,000 through the Australian Government’s Indigenous Advancement Strategy to establish a community ranger program to employ and train local Ngadju young people “on country”.
Chairperson of Ngadju Conservation Aboriginal Corporation, Les Schultz, says the grant funding has opened up employment opportunities, helping to address local long-term unemployment issues.
“Our long-term vision is that the skills level will be raised, we can reconnect to country, take care of our culture and instil the core identity of Ngadju,” Les says.