24 May 2010
Traditional hunting of sea turtle and dugong has been a point of recent contention between some Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
In the lead up to National Reconciliation Week, which begins on Wednesday, NQ Dry Tropics is launching an educational film that explores the significance of the relationship between Traditional Owners and sea turtles.
The film entitled ‘Safeguarding the Gungu (sea turtle)’ promotes the role of Traditional Owners in marine turtle conservation and looks at how cultural heritage and western science can be used together to manage turtle populations.
NQ Dry Tropics Land and Sea Coordinator, Leah Saltner, said the film would help non-Indigenous Australians to better understand the role of traditional hunting in some Aboriginal cultures.
“This is an important educational product for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians,” she said.
“It provides insights into the role of sea turtles in cultural celebrations and the importance of both groups working together to protect these vulnerable animals.
“The film is also a way for Traditional Owners to pass on our own cultural knowledge, traditions, and views about our role in sea country management.”
The film was developed by NQ Dry Tropics with the help of the Gudjuda Reference Group, and the Juru, Bindal, and Nywagi Traditional Owners with funding from the Australian Government’s Caring for our Country initiative.
It has already received international attention, following a screening at the 30th Annual Symposium on Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation in India last month.
Six of the world’s seven species of sea turtle are found off the coast of Queensland. All sea turtles are listed as vulnerable or endangered.
The film launch follows World Turtle Day on Sunday and precedes National Sorry Day on Wednesday.