Githabul divided on native title land

AFTER fighting to stop the Repco Rally, Githabul custodian Doug Williams will now greet the event's launch today with a 'welcome to country' ceremony.

Last week Mr Williams said no official agreement between the rally and the Githabul people existed for the use of land subject to a Native Title claim, on which part of the rally would run.

On Thursday he was flown to Sydney for an emergency meeting with Lands Minister Tony Kelly.

The Minister's office said as a result of the meeting, the Githabul nation would now welcome the rally on to Githabul land on Sunday at 9.30am.

However, Githabul elder Cazna Williams, of Woodenbong, said Mr Williams, to whom she was related by marriage, could not speak for the whole nation.

Mrs Williams said the rally would run through two sites at Capeen sacred to her family. They had not been consulted. “There is a men's place and a women's place,” she said.

Mrs Williams was the custodian of the women's place which was still used by her family in accordance with their spiritual practices.

“It's ours, it's passed on by generations,” Mrs Williams said.

Mrs Williams said she thought the Native Title claim would have protected their sacred sites.

“I fought for our land and I will fight to stop the rally,” she said.

Githabul lawyer Trevor Close, who won the 2007 Githabul Native Title claim, has called on protesters to descend on Kyogle to stop the rally.

Mr Williams was unavailable to comment because he was distressed by two deaths in the indigenous community.

Rally organisers said they stood by the cultural heritage report they commissioned, which found the event would not affect indigenous culture.



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