This article was originally published on the Wangan and Jagalingou Family Council website.
Friends, the moment that threatened us has come, and we need you with us.
In a shameful act, the Queensland Government has extinguished our land rights over Wangan and Jagalingou Country, ignoring our refusal to give our consent to Adani.
Our homelands and waters, the fate of our sacred Springs, and our ceremonial grounds, are now officially controlled by billionaire miner Adani.
The Government didn’t have to betray our culture, and deny our rights in this way – they chose to do this. And, in this moment, we choose to resist.
Now is the time for all our supporters to stand with us in solidarity, to prevent the permanent destruction of our culture. Will you sign the pledge to stand with us to defend our people, our rights and our country?
We will maintain our defence of country and stay on our homelands, despite Adani demanding that police remove our people from a ceremonial camp established last weekend at the site.
We will be there to care for our lands and waters, hold ceremonies, and uphold the ancient, abiding law of the land.
The Queensland Government and Adani, working hand in hand, are criminalising our cultural laws and practice. We have been made ‘trespassers’ on our own Country.
We need your support to sustain our fight. We must continue to resist Governments who would deny our rights, and Adani and the other coal miners lining up to plunder our homelands.
Please donate to our “Defence of Country” Fund.
We have held up this mine for eight long years and we will keep fighting to ensure our ancestral lands are not destroyed.
The mining State of Queensland and its corporate vanguard, Adani, have never had our free prior consent to occupy our lands and take our water, or allow a coal mine to destroy them.
Adani are the trespassers. And the State aids and abets them.
While we’ve spent fifteen years trying to get our land back through the native title process, we now face forcible removal as the Queensland Government hands our land to Adani.
We face being criminalised for trying to conduct ceremony and maintain connection – the very essence of our continued claim to the lands and waters of our ancestors.
Last weekend we established a Cultural Sovereignty Camp on Country, on the land Adani is seizing for the mine’s critical infrastructure. View our video.
This is always going to be First Nations land. They will not move us from our sacred places.
The Government are in dishonour for the suffering they have caused our people, and the harm they do to our ancestors. They should hang their heads in shame for how they have enabled this abuse of power by Adani. We will hold them both to account.
All along, the State and Adani have acted in bad faith to engineer an outcome. Yet when we have said no, loudly and clearly – when we stand in our truth and our law and resist – we are punished. They are perpetrating ‘lawfare’ against us.
The threats to us are grave. They are legal, physical and spiritual. They cut to the deepest meaning of being First Nations people in this country. Our lives, our families, our laws and culture are placed at risk by the rich and powerful.
Adani has bankrupted our cultural leader and threatens our elders who have fought through the courts with further punitive costs. We face criminal charges for being on the land the State just handed to Adani without even telling us. The threat of trespassing charges and potential arrest by the police is meant to scare us into submission.
The Government and Adani are looking to make an example and a mockery of our people, to bankrupt and criminalise us, and force our people further into poverty. These are the conditions that are meant to make us grateful for some handouts and jobs in a dirty coal mine.
By denying us ceremony and the right to claim and maintain physical contact with the land and our ancestors, they are denying our fundamental human rights.
We will not be relegated. We are the people from the land. The keepers of the ancestors. The water protectors.
No still means no. We will resist as our forebears have always done. And with your support, we can fight to right these injustices and heal the land.
Please pledge to stand with us, and donate to support our fight when you can.
Adrian Burragubba, Murrawah Johnson & Linda Bobongie for the Wangan and Jagalingou Family Council