The Yawuru people have a responsibility in our law to protect, promote and sustain the law and culture that has come to us from the Bugarrigarra. This has been the responsibility of the Yawuru for millennia and was recognised in the native title determination.
All matters that affect native title rights, Yawuru country and Yawuru cultural rights must be referred to the Yawuru Prescribed Body Corporate (PBC) for its consideration and decision. NBY Future Acts and Heritage unit coordinates this work and provides information to the PBC Board to assist its decision making.
‘Future acts’ are activities that might affect Yawuru’s native title rights – for instance, the grant of a mining lease. Future acts need to be monitored closely so that we can make sure that Yawuru’s native title rights are appropriately managed and protected against the activities of companies, governments and developers. This means using Yawuru’s procedural rights under the Native Title Act, researching company activities, getting independent advice, negotiating with parties and securing benefits for Yawuru people.
An important objective in the Yawuru Cultural Management Plan is to ensure that Yawuru people maintain our role as protectors and managers of our country and culture. Yawuru have protocols to protect Yawuru country and provide guidance to other parties who want to do activities or developments on country. The most important protocol for visitors to Yawuru country is to show respect and ask first. The Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972 (WA) and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act 1984 (Cth) also provide for the protection of Aboriginal sites or areas of significance on both native title and non-native title lands.
Yawuru require other parties to come and talk with us if they are proposing to do activities or developments on Yawuru country. Yawuru advisors often carry out heritage assessments and surveys so that any significant sites or areas can be identified and protected. When Yawuru people conduct heritage assessments, we look not only at discrete sites, but at the whole country as a cultural landscape with diverse cultural values. Yawuru cultural monitors also oversee works on Yawuru country, especially excavation and native vegetation clearing.
We want to maintain a strong Yawuru presence overseeing activities on Yawuru country and protecting Yawuru cultural heritage.