Miya was successful in securing a grant to undertake an applied research project with Girringun Aboriginal Corporation to explore different avenues, opportunities and constraints for Indigenous land and sea managers to fulfil their aspirations to look after country sustainably. Miya considered the various statutory and non-statutory mechanisms for securing Indigenous rights and interests over land and […]
Miya instigated and oversighted a project in conjunction with Ian Doust (RPS Group), to develop Sustainable Land Use Plans for all Torres Strait inhabited islands. The project received an award through the Planning Institute of Australia in 2010 for its innovative and community-based approach. The Plans support Torres Strait communities, councils, state and federal government […]
Miya instigated and lead a project to empower Torres Strait Traditional Owners to record and manage their Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) in line with customary protocols and Indigenous intellectual property rights. This project was directed by Torres Strait Traditional Owners and Elders, and aimed to ensure that TEK was protected for the future, and appropriately […]
In 2010, Miya assisted Dr Dermot Smyth (Smyth & Bahrdt Consultants) in preparing a report for the Victorian Government on how to progress free-standing statutory recognition of Traditional Owner customary use of and access to natural resources. The report reviewed the statutory recognition of Indigenous peoples’ access to and use of natural resources in other Australian […]
Miya worked with the North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance (NAILSMA), project partners and communities in 2009 to support the Saltwater People Network. The Saltwater People Network connects Indigenous Traditional Owners from the Kimberley, Top End of the Northern Territory, southern Gulf of Carpentaria, Cape York and the Torres Strait. It helps them […]
Miya worked with Dr Dermot Smyth (Smyth & Bahrdt Consultants), who was responsible for the design of the highly successful Indigenous Protected Areas programme, to co-author a chapter on Indigenous peoples and marine protected areas in the CSIRO publication Big, Bold and Blue: Lessons from Australia’s Marine Protected Areas. This chapter explores the concept of sea country, […]
Miya played a pivotal role in establishing the Banksia award-winning Land and Sea Management Unit in Torres Strait. She was responsible for securing millions of dollars of investment to support sustainable, community-based management of the region’s unique islands and seas, under a strategic policy framework supported by credible science, and through a negotiated, collaborative approach with […]
It is hard not to feel moved by the strong sense of spirit and customary connection to country on Mer (Murray Island). Mer is the birthplace of native title rights in Australia, and home of the late Eddie Koiki Mabo of the landmark Mabo decision by the High Court of Australia in 1992.
Speaking with Eddie’s grandson, Appie Thaiday, about his motivation to be a ranger was a humbling experience. Appie’s lifelong ambition was to be a ranger, to carry out his ancestor’s wishes by looking after the land and sea estates he and his clan members, and the Meriam Traditional Owners, are responsible for. Appie’s job as a ranger enables him to be a custodian of his traditional country.
This role in his community helps to reinforce the importance of land and sea management, and to strengthen the communal and customary ties to country that govern Indigenous people’s relationships with their lands and seas.
The term ‘country’ is much broader than simply a reference to land. Dermot Smyth in his Guidelines for Country-based Planning discusses how the term ‘country’ has been adopted by Indigenous people across Australia to describe the complex layers of meaning associated with their place of origin and belonging. [Read more]