Australian Daintree Rainforest Ceded Back to Indigenous People

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The Australian government on Wednesday handed over the famous 135-million-year-old Daintree rainforest, known for its rare and ancient plant and animal species, to the Kuku Yalanji aboriginal tribe of the East.

A historic decision: the Australian rainforest of Daintree, the oldest in the world, was returned, Wednesday, September 29, to its native owners as part of the process of reconciliation between communities.

Daintree National Park, a 135-million-year-old forest listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was returned to the Kuku Yalanji aboriginal tribe from the East on Wednesday in a ceremony in the remote town of Bloomfield, in the state of Queensland.

This immense and humid forest is populated by rare and ancient plant and animal species, among which the helmeted cassowary bird, whose claws are very dangerous.

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Chrissy Grant, a member of the committee that negotiated the handover called the moment “historic” to allow the community to “take charge of its own destiny.”

A total of 160,000 hectares of this Daintree National Park, located on the Cape York Peninsula at the northeastern tip of Australia, have been returned to the region’s aborigines as part of the community reconciliation process. .

Since the arrival of European settlers in Australia in 1788, these indigenous people have been severely marginalized.

An important step towards reconciliation after an “embarrassing and horrible” past

Initially, the national parks will be managed jointly with the government of the State of Queensland, before being placed exclusively under the responsibility of the indigenous community.

A foundation will be created to provide training and jobs to members of this community in the sectors including tourism, research and land management, said Chrissy Grant.

Queensland Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon said restitution of these lands is an important step in the reconciliation process after an “embarrassing and horrific” past.

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“The culture of the Kuku Yalanji people of the East is one of the oldest living cultures in the world and this agreement recognizes their right to own and manage their country, to protect their culture and to share it with tourists,” he said. she said.

To date, the government has returned 3.8 million hectares of land in Cape York to the natives, she added.

With AFP

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