Developing a land and resource management framework for Kaanju homelands, Central Cape York Peninsula

Author/editor: Smith, B, Claudie, D
Year published: 2003
Issue no.: 256


This paper outlines efforts by Kaanju families to develop a comprehensive framework for the management of traditional lands and their associated resources on Kaanju homelands. Based at the Chuula homeland camp on the upper Wenlock River, Kaanju people are attempting to move beyond involvement as mere partners or stakeholders in land and resource management projects, which involves a substantial re-orientation in the ways in which land and resource management are undertaken. Through engagement with the 'Indigenous Protected Areas' framework, and other categories devised by 'mainstream' agencies, Kaanju people are seeking a practical but substantial form of self-determination in partnership with local non-Indigenous people and regional and national agencies. This approach to local land and resource management is based on what Kaanju people understand to be their inalienable and substantial ties to their traditional homelands. The paper provides perspectives from the Chairman of the Chuulangun Aboriginal Corporation (David Claudie) and from an anthropologist (Benjamin Smith) who has researched Kaanju homelands aspirations for the past seven years. The paper outlines the opportunities and challenges entailed by this innovative approach, and the cultural and political contexts underlying Kaanju relationships with current land management structures.

ISBN: 0 7315 5631 3

ISSN:1036 1774

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