The Kuku Yalanji people of Far North Queensland have developed an ambitious plan to regenerate their language and culture and preserve both for future generations. As they told us language comes from Country and all the songs, dances, artworks, and ways in which people live are connected. They developed an e-book to support language learning and have had remarkable success in persuading the local school to teach language to all the children. As part of this project, they approached NED to support their Cooya Beach project.
Cooya Beach comprises eight acres of land which are the remaining holding of Bennet Walker’s family where bush foods and bush medicines are being planted and protected. Bennet has extensive knowledge of the area and the traditional use of plants.
Other fruit and vegetables are also planted to support Kuku Yalanji people. NED provided funding for a borehole and pump, water tanks and a lockable shed. The shed provides storage for garden tools and a safe space for local artists who are sleeping rough to keep their art supplies.
Plans are to further develop the project as an attraction in this popular tourist area and provide an income for Kuku Yalanji people. Their vision includes guided tours, cooking demonstrations, selling bush foods and a shop on the highway that travels past the property.
Our relationship with the Kubirriwarra Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation has developed and expanded into working together to secure federal arts and culture funding for a project that records language, art, artefact making, songs and dancing connected with six sites of cultural significance. A film will be produced and hopefully there will be an exhibition later in 2023. Like most projects there have been delays and glitches due to the pandemic.