The Budina people in Western Australia’s Pilbara have been granted Native Title on just over 4000 square kilometres of land in the Carnarvon, Upper Gascoyne and Ashburton areas.
Federal Court judge Justice John Griffiths handed down the Native Title determination ruling on Monday at an on-country hearing at Lyndon Pastoral Station.
The Budina people are descended from five ancestors — Jirbar, Tamiguru, Baliaat, Parndabiddy and Topsy. They began their claim for the land, about 150km east of WA’s idyllic Coral Bay, in 2004.
Budina elder Clive Lyndon said the outcome was important for their people.
“My vision is to pass on our culture to the next generation and set up a way for non-Aboriginal people to experience and learn our culture,” he said.
In handing down the determination, Justice Griffiths said the Budina People’s connection to country was religious and spiritual.
“The spirits of Budina old people reside in Budina land and waters and imbue the land and waters with power over the living,” he said.
“Their presence regulates behaviour toward kin and country.
“The Budina People’s belief that their ancestors inhabit the landscape provide them with the connection to land from which their rights in land arise.
“This foundational religious belief affects the behaviours and experiences of Budina People today.”
The Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation, a Native Title representative body for traditional owners in the Midwest, Pilbara, Murchison and Gascoyne regions, helped the Budina people with their claim.
YMAC chief executive officer Simon Hawkins said the Budina people had a good relationship with the owners of Lyndon Station, Sean and Cathy Darcy, where the determination proceedings were held.