The Ulag Kus dancers at Mabo Day celebrations at the QAL lookout last Wednesday.
The Ulag Kus dancers at Mabo Day celebrations at the QAL lookout last Wednesday. Mike Richards GLAMABO

PHOTOS: Important milestone celebrated on Mabo Day

TRADITIONAL landowner and Port Curtis Coral Coast Native Title supporter Nat Minniecon was among dozens of people celebrating Mabo Day last week.

Mr Minniecon said for indigenous people Mabo Day was one of the most important milestones for land entitlement in this country.

"We're showing we still have cultural respect and connection to our country," he said.

"Mabo paved the road for us to follow for us to get the recognition that we really desire."

Thelma Coleman, a Byellee woman from the Gladstone area, said it was a privilege to be able to perform the traditional Welcome To Country on Mabo Day.

"The third of June 1993 was when Mabo's decision was handed down," she said.

"He was fighting for himself personally but what resulted was that indigenous people in Australia have a right to their country."

Port Curtis Coral Coast Native Entitlement Land Group member Charissma Blackman said she was thrilled to celebrate the 23rd anniversary.

"We're grateful for the decision," she said.

"It gives us destiny within our native title process on the mainland Australia.

"It helps us with all the industry components and other parties on the mainland to be at the table with mining, government and partialist parties."

PCCC native title claim member Richard Johnson said Mabo took on the establishment and from that decision and the land not being terra nullius ("nobody's land"), the traditional landowners are now acknowledged.

"We pay our respect and homage to that gentleman and because I'm so involved in native title, we utilise the spirit behind the Mabo decision in order to progress our claims," he said.

"My particular claim consists of about 6000 persons, four groups and has made an opportunity for those people to have some negotiations and recognition."

MABO DAY:

  • Occurs annually on June 3. It commemorates Eddie Koiki Mabo (c. June 29, 1936 - January 21, 1992).
  • Eddie Mabo overturned the legal fiction of terra nullius, Latin for "nobody's land", which had characterised Australian law with regards to land and title since the voyage of James Cook in 1770.


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