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Call to stop hunting dugong

Berylanne Bauman, with her brother, Roy Bauman, are opposed to dugong hunting in Yetimarla lands or waterways.
Berylanne Bauman, with her brother, Roy Bauman, are opposed to dugong hunting in Yetimarla lands or waterways.

INDIGENOUS hunter Lester Adams stirred the pot when he said he had no intention of heeding calls to stop catching dugong.

Mr Adams provoked a debate on the rights of traditional landowners and the use of modern hunting techniques.

Now Berylanne Bauman has entered the fray with this call for the indigenous community to protect not only dugong, but green turtles too:

Yetimarla people support a call for a ban on hunting dugong and green turtle, and have called on the indigenous community to cease all hunting in the Shoalwater Bay area.

The Shoalwater Bay area is the responsibility of the people of Yetimarla.

Since a Native Title claim over us, (Darumbal Applications QUD6001 of 1999 and QUD6131 of 1998) we have in recent years seen the politicisation of our rights by some of the indigenous community.

It sickens me that indigenous people like Lester Adams claim to have their traditional rights interfered if a moratorium to ban dugong hunting goes ahead (Morning Bulletin, September 16).

Even in our culture we had times when we could not hunt dugong because of the silt from the floodings. This year vast quantities of silt swept from the land by the flooding. It swamped many areas of sea grass, leading to food shortage of the dugong's diet.

It has been reported that along the Queensland coastline, as many as 6000 green turtles and 1500 dugongs could die through starvation in the coming months.

My grandfather (Roy Bauman Snr, Custodian Owner of Dharambal [aka Darumbal] Laws and Customs), told me that it was time to take care of our brothers and sisters, and that we were to repay the favour that our native animals were to be looked after. The hunting for dugong was only used for ceremonial purposes. We gathered, the men hunted. But only then, not for everyday source of food.

It's a pity that our culture is always an issue with those who want to practise some sort of traditional customs in another tribe's land, it's an insult to their own ancestor let alone doing it to mine. How disgusting to hear and see an act of traditional disrespect towards my ancestors in our lands.

Why do they think they have rights to hunt and gather in other ancestors' lands to which he (Lester Adams) has no right to.

It's a shame when a government department gives you permission to hunt dugong on our country, and you do not seek permission of the Custodians of Dharambal Laws and Customs or Yetimarla people.

And you call yourself a native with Darumbal rights.

All I can say to Lester, stay south of the Fitzroy (river), and we call it a day.

We (the Yetimarla people) do things with pride and honour. It gives us courage for country and the love of family traditions and teachings you don't get from a book.

Again on behalf of the Yetimarla people and under the Traditional Laws and Customs of Dharambal, the indigenous community do not have authorisation to hunt on the lands of Yetimarla, and we order that they cease all indigenous activities on our country.

Yetimarla supports the moratorium on dugong hunting along its coastline.

- Berylanne Bauman, on behalf of the Yetimarla people and the Custodians of Dharambal Laws and Customs.

Topics:  dugong hunting indigenous


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