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Women Fight Mining Co. for Sacred Land

Protesters in northern New South Wales are refusing to let Ross Mining, one of Australia’s largest mining companies, go ahead with plans to mine ancestral land, citing loss of birthrights, including sacred lands and sites, by Aboriginal women. Ross Mining officials have reached an agreement with the New South Wales Lands Council and a regional corporation created specifically to sign the agreement, but local groups insist that the contract is not valid since the individuals who signed have no real authority.

Kathy Malera-Bandjalan, the leading protester, said that mining the land of the traditional, matrilineal Malera people’s land would “cease [their] existence as a people.” Malera-Bandjalan said, “It’s about women’s strength, women’s identity, their role as providers. For too long Aboriginal women have been denied even their first right – their birthright to practice their matrilineal law, to remember and pass to their daughters and grand-daughters the Dreaming stories of their Law and their culture.”

Malera Campaign Information

Sources:

Press Release - March 24, 1998

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