Gamilaraay People & Clan Groups against Coal and CSG

By Paul Spearim

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Gamilaraay country is under threat

Gamilaraay people have strength and resilience through ancient cultural knowledge - Song, Dance, Language, Stories, and Lore. Yet Gamilaraay culture is embedded in country, and country is under threat from coal and coal seam gas mining.

Gamilaraay country of North West NSW is the new frontier for coal and CSG in NSW. It is the site of the Shenhua mega coal mine at Biridja (Breeza) of Little Big Light/country ( Liverpool Plains) and the biggest CSG proposal in the state - the Santos Narrabri Gas Project, in the Biliga (Pilliga forest). It is also the site of the Leard state forest and the blockade aimed to stop the Whitehaven Maules Creek coal mine there. Gamilaraay people have been deeply involved in this battle to protect important cultural sites.

Gamilaraay cultural workshops

“Binangal Gayaa Wanangi” (“throwing the words from the Almighty Creator BUWADJARR”) – we understand our physical existence by fully understanding our spirituality through learning our traditional cultural knowledge." Paul Spearim.

Gamilaraay people are organising a series of cultural workshops to share and strengthen cultural knowledge. Through cultural heritage and community, Gamilaraay will strengthen their resistance to coal and CSG mining.

These workshops will bring together hundreds of Gamilaraay people over coming months across Gamilaraay country, with a view to a Gamilaraay nation conference in 6 - 8 months time (between March - May 2016). This is the start of a long term project to protect culture and country.

Support Gamilaraay people to be leaders in protecting country, and stopping the advance of coal and gas. Support Gamilaraay culture and heritage.

How will the money be spent?

This money will assist with transport (mini-bus hire and fuel subsidies), elders' accommodation, food, and other logistics for at least four cultural workshops as a start to this larger project;

1. On the banks of the Namoi in Gunnedah, Nov 4 -6, in the lead up to the "Harvest Festival against Shenhua". This will prepare participants to perform in the opening ceremony led by Gamilaraay people at the Harvest Festival, 7pm - 8.30pm Friday 7th Nov.

2. Near Nharibaraay (Narrabri) 21 - 22 Nov, before the "Still Gasfield Free" Celebration and Big Photo event (which will be held further up the Namoi behind the Crossing Theatre, Narrabri).

3. At least two more workshops in Gamilaraay population centres across Country.

The first workshop was held in Moree on 26 Oct. This workshop was self-funded. Financial support will enable greater participation and a sustainable program of ever-increasing momentum.

Who’s behind this campaign?

This project is being lead by Paul Spearim, a Gamilaraay man who has been sharing cultural knowledge through oral teachings, Stories, Songs, and Dances for over 40 years. This knowledge is locked inside his Gi (Heart) and Dhuwi (Soul).

Paul is backed and assisted by his family and community and supported by the Wilderness Society.

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Team Members

Naomi Crystal Hodgson