Lex Hall; 14/5/10
In a ceremony not far from the site of the Northern Territory’s 1966 Wave Hill walk-off, Aboriginal traditional owners yesterday became joint managers of the culturally rich Gregory National Park. About 300 traditional owners gathered at Jasper Gorge, where Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin handed over the deeds to the 1300 sq km park in the Territory’s northwest. At the same time the park, home to spectacular gorges and traces of early European and Aboriginal history, was leased back to the NT government for 99 years. The traditional owners welcomed the handback, but insisted that local people had to be given priority in the park’s management.”Contracts should be offered to us first before they go out to tender,” said Narinyman elder Larry Johns. Jasper Gorge traditional owner Kevin Bishop said joint management was a way of empowering future generations.”We wanted to see our young people grow and get knowledge about Aboriginal culture and about land management and tourism,” Mr Bishop said.