The Indigenous Man Who Declared His Own Country

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Livia Albeck-Ripka / Sept. 13, 2019 / NYTimes, The Saturday Profile

QUOTE:

To [Murrumu of Walubara} and his followers, the Great Barrier Reef is a part of the Yidinji Territory, a self-declared nation

“…at every other opportunity, Mr. Walubara pokes at assumptions of Australian sovereignty and land ownership in the region where he lives: “It’s just a truth that’s unfamiliar to you,” he tells people who don’t follow his line of thinking.

“He’s one of the great elders of this land,” said Isaac Cassady, 19, who lives in Cairns and identifies as being of Yidinji descent.

“It’s not about guilt tripping people or blaming people,” he added of Mr. Walubara’s mission. “It’s about working together to recognize, respect and move on.”

For Mr. Walubara, the road ahead may be lonely and fraught, but he remains convinced that a treaty will occur in his lifetime. Looking at other struggles around the world, he said he had come to appreciate that there was no shortcut to healing the wounds of history.

“The peaceful way is the best way,” he said, “even if it is the longest.”

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