(Granthshala) – Australia’s Fraser Island is the latest destination to have its Aboriginal name restored.
K’Gari means “heaven” in the local Buchulla language, and the Buchulla people have been owners and protectors of this land since before the days of European colonization and settlement.
The island, long popular with both foreign and domestic tourists, was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1992. It was cited for its distinctive biological conditions, including “the majestic remains of a tall rainforest growing on tall sand dunes, a phenomenon considered to be unique in the world.”
It is also home to a diverse group of rare or endangered animals, including the eastern ground parrot and the Fraser Island sand skink. UNESCO already refers to the island as Ke’gari.
A traditional smoking ceremony was held as part of the naming ceremony at Kingfisher Bay Resort on 19 September.
“The name change recognizes and honors the Buchulla people and their traditions, their culture and their ongoing connection to the country,” Meghan Scanlon, Minister of the Environment and Great Barrier Reef and Science and Youth Affairs, said in a statement.
She continued: “The Palaszczuk government (Anastasia Palaszczuk is the head of Queensland) recognizes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island heritage and cultures, which represent a lasting and ongoing relationship to the country for more than 60,000 years.”
However, community members caution that restoring the original name may not be the end of this story.
“We have been campaigning for years to change the name of the island,” Buchulla Tribal Corporation (BAC) spokesman Jade Gould said in a statement. “But it is a hollow symbol if our rights are not recognized by the Queensland government.”
In 1993, the federal government of Australia introduced the Native Title Act, through which officials can recognize Indigenous group ownership of their traditional land.
Elsewhere in Queensland, Ghibulam Kunungai National Park is the official name of Mulgumpin, formerly known as Moreton Island.
Currently, Indigenous peoples comprise about 3% of Australia’s population.
Top image: K’Gari Photo via Adobe Stock.
Credit : www.cnn.com