We are Googatha.
We are the caretakers of the Yumburra, Yellabinna, and Pureba region north of Ceduna, which is 900km
west of Adelaide in South Australia.
We are coming with a plea to the world community and the United Nations asking for help and international
support to persuade South Australia and the Australian Government to respect and protect Googatha country and culture.
The Yumburra, Yellabinna, Pureba region, is the largest area of mallee left in Australia.
It is intrinsic to our culture.
It's rock holes, sacred sites and the paths between, are very special to us.
Our bush foods and bush medicines are out there.
It is our Googatha school for our Googatha children.
When we were young the old people would take us out there to hide us from the Australian government officers
and the South Australian police who were coming to the mission to take us away from the Googatha.
They taught us about the land like show and tell.
The Australian system of Native Title has let us down since it first began by refusing to register our
Googatha family group claim.
The Native Title legal system then enforced an amalgamation of our Googatha claim with other tribes,
which distorted traditional Googatha land boundaries allowing government to approach the wrong people in consultation about
the Yumburra, Yellabinna, Pureba region.
The Native Title regime didn't show respect to our Googatha elders; to our Googatha culture.
Last year the government gathered Googatha Elders from all around at Spear Creek to mark out our traditional
Googatha boundaries for the Native Title system.
When it was done they ignored them as they did about 4 years before at Glendambo.
The government asks us to prove our Googatha connection to the land here for the last 200 years.
Googatha want them to prove their traditional ties to this land.
In the early nineteen nineties after the enforced Native Title amalgamation, the Yumburra, Yellabinna,
Pureba region was degazetted by the South Australian government to change it from a National Park to a Regional Reserve so
as to allow mining exploration licenses to be granted within.
The sand and mineral mining company, Iluka, have been allowed to work in the north out of Barton, and
as well, Dominion Gold's Challenger gold mine has been running in our Googatha land in this region for six years now.
Both these companies have just renewed and extended their licenses, and each now covers just under 2000km2,
which is putting our Googatha country, our Googatha sacred sites under major threat.
Other mining exploration licenses have been granted to Red Metal, International Resources and Inco Ltd,
in a non-transparent process whereby the South Australian government department for resources, P.I.R.S.A., ignored the
recommendations of the South Australian environment department, D.E.H., regarding environmental guidelines, and instead consulted
solely within the resource industry, from which they sought environmental advice and only from the sand and mineral mining
resource company Adelaide Resources Ltd.
The sand and mineral mining resource company Adelaide Resources Ltd was also granted an exploration license
covering nearly 2000km2 in Googatha country.
The implementation of this will encompass the whole Yumburra, Yellabinna, Pureba region.
Our Googatha country is still being invaded.
The genocide of our Googatha culture is continuing, with the approval of the South Australian government
and the acquiescence of the Australian government.
The Native Title Land Use Agreement leaves only a 200m buffer zone around the Sacred Rock holes.
Any competent geologist knows that owing to the aeons of sediment build-up, the mining work will eventually
be right on top of the Sacred Googatha Rock holes.
A small section of the land at Yellabinna has been put under quarantine by the government.
The South Australian Wilderness Society Incorporated are pushing for it to have total protection
under the Wilderness Protection Act.
We don't trust any South Australian government quarantine to protect Googatha country.
It doesn’t sound like permanent protection and we're not satisfied with protection of just one
part, we need all Yumburra, Yellabinna and Pureba to be safe.
The significance of the Googatha rock holes are individual, yet interrelated.
You can't have some without the others.
We Googatha, are the caretakers of the Yumburra, Yellabinna, Pureba region.
This Googatha country is not ours to give nor theirs to take.
We Googatha don't know these people who are making decisions about our country.
They have not been out here.
We Googatha invited them out but they did not come.
We hope to have come and to make people aware of this injustice done to the Googatha People by the South
Australian Government, and condoned by the Australian Government under its Native Title legal system.
We Googatha hope the compassionate international networks will give us what support they can.
We don't have the money ourselves to fly over to ask people to listen to our story, and we are busy working
on documents and researching ways to protect our Googatha country.
We are in the midst of forming a national Googatha Association to have the Googatha recognised as having
an equal right to self-determination over our state of affairs with the Australian governments and to open us to more resources
to add to the campaign.
We were informed of the UN committee meeting on the last day to receive nominations. so we have had little time to organise grants and fundraising. But
we Googatha see this as an important step in our national campaign of informing the world of the Googatha People, and the
importance, but also the threat to the continuation, of our Googatha culture and heritage.
So we are appealing for your help.
We need money for two return flights to Geneva to attend the United Nations conference we have been invited
to attend, and for transport, accommodation and food.
We also need to make extensive contacts now with those organisations who will be of support over there.
Thankyou for your understanding, your support of Indigenous and Tribal Peoples worldwide.
We need your support we want to protect our Googatha country.
It's a big special place, not only for us Googatha, but for all people for all children.