Yawuru people have occupied and managed the lands and seas in and around Broome since time immemorial. In 2006 the Federal Court determined that the Yawuru people are the native title holders of approximately 530,000 hectares of traditional Yawuru country.
The Federal Court judgement recognised that the “source of the Yawuru community’s traditional laws and customs … is the Bugarrigarra”. The court considered evidence about Yawuru traditional laws and customs relating to rai, the Yawuru language, the skin section system, kinship, malinyanu laws and customs, traditional stories, bush names, hunting, bush foods, looking after Country, speaking for Country, increase sites and permission requirements. The Court said that “when considered cumulatively, the evidence in relation to those matters demonstrated that the present Yawuru community still acknowledges and observes the traditional laws and customs which, since sovereignty, have constituted the normative system under which the native title rights and interests in issue are being claimed.” (Rubibi Community v State of Western Australia (No 6)  FCA 82 – Case Summary).
You can read the rest of the determination here.
The Yawuru community now number between 1,000 and 2,000 people, the vast majority of whom live in Broome. The Yawuru community and Country has undergone extraordinary change over the past 130 years since the beginning of European occupation. Changes continue to place significant pressure on Yawuru people especially with Broome’s rapid population growth.
This creates both challenges and opportunities for Yawuru people today who have responsibility to protect and nurture our country and culture while at the same time participating in the regional economy in a manner that creates reliable prosperity for individuals, families and the whole Yawuru community.