Australia returns national parks to Indigenous peoples

Aboriginal Australians get their land back.

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Some welcome news coming on the heels of Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

Almost 220 years after indigenous Australians were driven out of their protected homelands by British colonizers, they are finally regaining their ancestral lands, getting control of many national parks.

Native Australians were given back over 3,700 square miles of land this summer by two states. Western Australia (WA) created three new marine parks in collaboration with Indigenous people, totaling 2,317 square miles; Queensland returned 1,398 square miles, most of which is national parkland. Creating and preserving these national parks represents a significant effort to reconcile the country’s traumatic colonial past.

“The creation of these marine parks is a significant milestone for Australia as it shows true co-design between government and traditional owners can be achieved,” says Tyronne Gartsone, chief executive of Kimberley Land Council, the peak Indigenous body in the Kimberley region of WA.

Of course, this milestone for aboriginal Australians has not healed the past overnight, but it sure is a step in the right direction for them to reclaim part of their home and history to pass on to generations to come.

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