Wik-Waya open Amrun Traditional Owners’ area

05 December 2017

The culture of local Aboriginal people was recognised at the opening of a Traditional Owners’ area at Rio Tinto’s Amrun bauxite mine development in Far North Queensland on Friday.

Over 100 people attended the event at the area which is named ‘Chivarri’ and was designed by local Wik-Waya Traditional Owners.

Wik-Waya people travelled from the nearby communities of Napranum and Aurukun to join Rio Tinto and Amrun Project employees at the opening celebrations.

Wik-Waya Elder Tony Kerindun said "We named the area ‘Chivarri’ because it is a shared word between many traditional groups and means ‘ancient warrior.’ Chivarri gave us our language and many names for our sacred places.

"This is a special space for us which will help us to share our connection to the land with those involved in the project and the new mine."

Pictured: Wik-Waya people, Rio Tinto and Project employees celebrate the event

Attendees at the event were treated to speeches and traditional dance. They were also able to tour the ‘Chivarri’ area which includes an historical timeline, fire pit and relaxation area.

The three entrances to the area also showcase culturally significant scarred trees which have been relocated from the project’s footprint by Amrun’s Land and Sea Management team which is made up of Wik-Waya people.

Once the mine is operational, it will be used as a meeting place and for employee ‘Welcome to Country’ ceremonies.

Pictured: Wik-Waya people celebrate Chivarri’s opening with traditional dance

Rio Tinto Amrun Project director Marcia Hanrahan said "We are delighted with the Traditional Owners’ area which was completed through a collaborative effort by Wik-Waya people, Rio Tinto and Amrun Project employees.

"It is important to us that local Aboriginal people maintain the significant cultural knowledge and identity of their land. We greatly respect the insights they have provided in the construction of the area and the wider Amrun Project."