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Desert and ice dwellers on opposite sides of the world meet to share knowledge on Country

Aaron Bloch -

Indigenous rangers from opposite sides of the world have met to share insights into the common challenges they face self-governing and protecting Country from mounting environmental pressures.

Yanunijarra Aboriginal Corporation members and Ngurrara rangers from WA's Kimberley region recently traveled to Canada to meet with Inuit counterparts as part of the inaugural Two Deserts Exchange.

YAC chief executive Peter Murray said the trip was a chance to share knowledge on self-governance, jobs and youth affairs, and tackling climate change-related pressures.

"Relationship to the land is central to both our cultures, and the world is now recognizing that Indigenous people have expertly managed country for thousands of years," he said.

"So recognizing our rights over that landâ€"and managing it in a way that aligns with our valuesâ€"is crucial, not only for us but for the future health of the planet."

"As we face these threats to our livelihoods, it's good to connect with Inuit leaders so that we can learn from each other and develop strategies to deal with these challenges,"

Mr Murray said from struggles with youth to restoration of traditional practices, both groups have a lot in common.

Key take-homes from the trip included an understanding the shared difficulty in accessing country - whether due to melting sea ice on Inuit Country or extreme heat in the Kimberley.

Self-governance was also a key theme - Indigenous people sit as ministers in the Nunatsiavut Government which has boosted their ability to engage with decision-makers.

Mr Murray said Australia was well behind Canada which it came to funding, transport and self-governance, but Australia was leading the way in building ranger programs.

Nunatsiavut Government president Johannes Lampe said he was please to welcome the Kimberley mob to their country.

Mr Lampe said Labrador Inuit Elders were keen to make a return visit to Australia so their footprints could "truly be everywhere".

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