Micro Grants Recipient | Bundjalung of Byron Bay Aboriginal Corporation (Arakwal)
Bundjalung of Byron Bay Aboriginal Corporation (Arakwal) has worked on various fronts to sustain and celebrate Arakwal Culture and Country. 30th April last year, the Corporation celebrated a major accomplishment for Arakwal People, to secure and maintain rights to Arakwal land and traditional waters; and to gain recognition and respect for Arakwal Culture and heritage by the broader Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities.
The elders embarked on this journey many years ago and the progress has been slow and steady.In 1996 the Corporation was registered to pursue the Bundjalung land claim, care for country and develop enterprises and programs to support Arakwal people. In 2001 it leapt closer to securing native title when it successfully negotiated an Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) with the New South Wales Government. As a consequence, it became joint managers (with National Parks and Wildlife Service) of Arakwal National Park, which was established as part of the agreement.
The Corporation continued to negotiate for land rights, and two more ILUAs were registered in 2008. Arakwal National Park is just south of Byron. As joint managers, the corporation works to protect Aboriginal cultural sites within the national park, control feral animals, and document plants traditionally used by Arakwal people. Two-thirds of National Parks and Wildlife staff in Byron Bay are Arakwal people working on Country.
In the last decade, the corporation has grown and expanded its activities and projects, working on many fronts toward realising its corporate vision. Art projects are one of the celebrated areas for members to thrive and tell stories about Culture and Country. Arakwal has many talented artists who enjoy showcasing their work.
With assistance from the Micro Grants initiative, Arakwal will develop a new website which will have a merchandise / Arakwal artwork section for online purchasing to further promote and distribute Arakwal products and art all over the country and world.
Artwork by Kaitlyn Clark ‘Connection’ (2020)