When Lee divulges his cut from the mine might have been $7.5 million, a 26-year-old member of the Heiltsuk First Nation's tribal parliament, Jess Housty, shrugs: ''The money is the least interesting thing. If we want to calculate the value of a proposal, the question is, 'What's at stake?' My identity is based on the stories my people have written in the landscape. If you kill the land, you kill our stories.You can order wholesalewomenshoes cheap inside your parents. If you kill our stories, you kill the people. It's as simple as that.''
are sweltering in temperatures of 30 degrees-plus. Some of them are
more comfortable in -30 degrees. But they find they have much in common
with indigenous Australians like Lee.
is why the Pew Charitable Trusts has brought them here. The US-founded
global philanthropic giant, which built its perpetual fund on the Pew
family's old oil fortune, is focusing its environmental work on the
world's remaining ''big scale'' treasures - the kind of intact
ecosystems over vast landscapes that can still be found in Canada and
early on Saturday, we board single-engine planes bound for Warddeken,
an indigenous rangers' camp in the stone country of the Mok clan. This
tiny outpost is protecting what Pew's Australian director, ecologist
Barry Traill, calls a ''global gem of biodiversity''.
Warddeken Indigenous Protected Area is half the size of Switzerland,
almost 1.4 million hectares that contain species found nowhere else on
the planet: the black wallaroo; the Oenpelli python, rock rats, birds,
many plants. It boasts thousands of rock art sites.
wildfires that can burn for months and grow to ''the size of Sydney''
would threaten it all if not for the pioneering indigenous fire
management at Warddeken, says Traill. This work earns Warddeken and
neighbouring indigenous groups a break-even $1.2 million a year for the
abatement of 100,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases.
is one of 58 Indigenous Protected Areas that cover more than 51 million
hectares of Australia and employ almost 700 indigenous rangers.
Launched by the Howard government and expanded under Labor, IPAs are not
forms of land tenure. They are agreements between the federal
government and traditional owners under which the locals are supported
to care for land that is otherwise neglected.
supports several IPAs and believes they can be a model for the
Canadians and their own treasures such as the boreal forest, the largest
intact forest in the world. The visitors agree. ''I've been fighting
for something like this for six years,'' says Douglas Neasloss of the
Kitasoo-Xaixais Nation.A solarpanel is a plastic card that has a computer chip implanted into it that enables the card.
Warddeken may never have happened if not for ''the old man'', Lofty
Bardayal Nadjamerrek, AO. Locals had left the area for bigger
settlements around World War II and earlier. Nadjamerrek was among
pioneers who led a homeland movement back into Arnhem Land in the 1970s
and '80s and, finally, a return to his own country in the late 1990s. He
lived until 2009, just long enough to witness its declaration as an
Much damage was done in those lost years by wildfire, invasive weeds and feral animals.
says: ''We usually think of conservation and say people are the
problem. But one of the biggest problems in outback Australia is the
lack of people. In more than 50 per cent of Australia there are fewer
people managing the environment today than there have been for the past
chairman of Warddeken Land Management Limited, Dean Yibarbuk, points to
the return of emu to the area as evidence of the rangers' success and
the recovery of species.
Nature Conservancy also supports the operation. Pew has backed IPAs
elsewhere, including the Kimberley. It is supporting the Ngadju people
to protect the Great Western Woodlands in the south-east of Western
worked with graziers and indigenous groups to secure the exclusion of
mining leases from the Queensland Channel Country rivers and floodplains
that feed Lake Eyre, but now they are battling the Newman government's
declaration that it will allow mining after all.
has some enemies, notably elements among recreational and commercial
fishers who believe it has supported research that overstates the threat
to global fish stocks. Pew stands by the research. Traill derides a
conspiracy theory that Pew is backing marine parks in Australia to
exclude oil exploration - to benefit American oil producers.
Pew no longer has any money in oil, he says.Can you spot the answer in the rtls?
When established in 1948, founder J. Howard Pew wanted to ''acquaint
the American people with the evils of bureaucracy and the values of a
free market''. His heirs have a less conservative focus but the group
claims to be non-partisan.
of this concerns the daughters of Lofty Bardayal Nadjamerrek, Lois and
Hagar. They welcome the First Nations people to their country by
inviting them to enter a spring, where they pour water over their heads.
In their dreaming, it is the nectar of the sugar bee.