The Caring for Country (CFC) and Traditional Knowledge Revival Pathways (TKRP) are two key units within Balkanu that take on the responsibility to strengthen and preserve Cape York indigenous traditions and culture. They support social and private enterprise development for communities in Cape York through Land and Sea management, applying Aboriginal traditional knowledge methodology to care for and protect the distinctive environment of Cape York.
Balkanu work in this arena is funded through a combination of grants, donations and government funding.
Mid 2009, our partner Land Trusts and Balkanu successfully applied for Working on Country funding to Dept of Environment, Water Heritage and Arts (DEWHA) to deliver ranger services program for
- Kuku Nyungkal country consisting of World Heritage listed wet tropical waterways, mountains, forests and seas in far north-eastern Queensland.
- Mt Croll Refuge and surrounding Aboriginal freehold land in Cape York Peninsula.
- Running Creek Nature Refuge and surrounding Aboriginal freehold land.
Balkanu Working on Country Ranger programs commenced in August 2009 with a tri-partnering agreement with DEWHA and the relevant Traditional Owner groups –
- Kalan Ranger Service/Toolka Land Trust;
- Lama Lama Ranger Service /Lama Lama Land Trust; and
- Nyungkal Ranger Service /Bana Yarralji Corporation.
The objective of each service is to provide ecological and land resource management services for the respective Traditional Lands through a combination of western and Traditional Practices.
Balkanu will assist the Traditional Owner groups to build both Land Resource management and enterprise capacity within their organisations to ensure ongoing sustainable businesses in Natural Resource management.
Over 30 full-time rangers have been employed and Balkanu coordinates training for the rangers to acquire skills for providing ranger services in the delivery of Land Resource Management expertise to other Landowners in Cape York.
In addition to the Balkanu also supported the Yuku-Baja-Maliku people in successfully securing Working on Country funding (Ranger service for their Country at Archer Point just south of Cooktown). Balkanu Caring for Country unit are working closely with the Yuku-Baja-Muliku people in terms of enterprise & ranger setup, mentoring, purchasing and operational admin support.
Balkanu are currently assisting the Ranger Services to establish internal governance and compliance such as Occupational Health & Safety; develop systems to administer and report on funding; and look at ways to economically develop the country and provide financial returns and jobs for their people.
Our support program to the various traditional owners clans and their land trusts in the development of a range of land and sea management projects has injecting a over a million dollars into the Cape York economy during the 2009/2010 fiscal year
Caring for Country unit continues to support the Cape York Fire Abatement project. Feasibility assessments on carbon abatement opportunities from traditional burning practices and reafforestation, etc are currently been conducted.
Coen Lighthouse Projects
Balkanu has been working with individuals, families, group and Indigenous clans to build new business, build the foundations on management of their country, develop specific land trust support activities in the Coen region.
Together with the Coen welfare reform program, Balkanu assist with implementation of Welfare Reform initiatives in the region.
Balkanu facilitates forums with Traditional Land Owners and regional groups to develop a consolidated Natural Resources Management plan to develop sustainable land and sea management arrangements.
Successful lighthouse projects include;
- Mossman Gorge Gateway development project
- Land Trusts groups, namely Kandju, Umpila, Lama Lama, Ayapathu, Wik Mungkan
- Ranger Services
Balkanu Traditional Knowledge Recording Service
The Balkanu Traditional Knowledge Recording (TKR) Service supports Aboriginal people on Cape York to record their old people on-country as they share traditional cultural knowledge.
support for events, media production, training, technical advice and funding acquisition.
- work with a range of people and organizations but are strongly committed to serving our the people of Cape York.
- is based on the expressed wishes of many Elders that their young people learn about the traditional knowledge (TK) of their clan and country.
- strives to be a professional, flexible, friendly and helpful service that the people of Cape York may easily access for this purpose.
In 2010 the TKR Service has coordinated a number of projects including the ‘Muramanka’ Indigenous Rangers Conference, a cultural event attended by more than 300 Indigenous leaders, rangers and others over 4 days on Kuku Nyungkal
Our achievements in 2010 include;
- Development and launch the ‘Muramanka Statement’
- Co-production with the Bana Yarralji Rangers of a documentary film about culturally sensitive scientific surveys on-country
- Co-production with Gudang Elders and ecologists of a documentary about
- the cultural values of Lockerbie Scrub
- Production of community engagement tools for the ‘Dreaming Track Project’, Contract management and media production for the ‘Umpila Cultural Survey Project’
- Production of a documentary for the ‘Carbon Abatement Project’ at Karbalwarnamyu
- Production of a documentary for the Lama Lama people of the handover ceremony of Cliff Islands
- a cultural camp for Bloomfield School children
- the ‘Normanby Bush University’ event with Ron Harrigan at Normanby Station
- a strategic report on the development of an archive and retrieval system for existing Balkanu TKR materials
- media production for Balkanu’s ‘Working on Country’ programs, media production and support for in-house projects including the website,
- photographic and video documentation; and
- the ongoing provision of funding applications to support future Balkanu projects