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Juukan Gorge Legacy Foundation appoints inaugural chief executive

Brendan Foster -

The Juukan Gorge Legacy Foundation has appointed passionate policy advocate and campaigner for First Nations rights, Christy Hawker as their first chief executive officer.

Ms Hawker will take on the new role in May after being the chief executive of the Binarri-Binyja Yarrawoo Aboriginal Corporation since 2016.

Ms Hawker said she was excited and privileged to take on the role with the Juukan Gorge Legacy Foundation (JGLF).

"I look forward to fostering strong relationships and providing a positive influence through collaboration to help achieve meaningful results for the JGLF across key areas including maintaining and strengthening traditional connection to Country, fostering economic development projects, and supporting community health and well-being," Ms Hawker said.

JGLF chair, Burchell Hayes, said Ms Hawker brings significant relevant and critical experience to the role, including a background working on native title issues and at senior levels of government.

"Christy will work closely with our Board of Directors as we implement our strategic plan which will involve the development of programs and implementation of initiatives to support the PKK people and build an even stronger and prouder community now and into the future," Mr Hayes said.

The JGLF was created in 2020 after the tragic destruction of two ancient rock shelters at Juukan Gorge on the lands of the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura peoples in the Pilbara region.

The rock shelters were of immense cultural significance to the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura people and the great sense of loss and sorrow will always be with them.

Last month, the First Nations Heritage Protection Alliance launched the Dhawura Ngilan business and investor guides to prevent the repeat of the destruction of the 46,000-year-old rock shelter at Juukan Gorge.

The guides, inspired by Dhawura Ngilan ('Remembering Country' in the Ngunnawal Language) were drafted by legal firm Terri Janke & Company, in consultation with First Nations, business and investment groups.

The guides outline the steps businesses should take to uphold the principles of free, prior and informed consent and address the due diligence investors should undertake to manage the legal, financial and reputational risks associated with First Nations cultural heritage.

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