The small Indigenous community of Mona Mona in Far North Queensland Australia was going to be removed from their homes after the state government decided to turn their land into a national park. But on Saturday, the community will celebrate an ‘historic’ handover, with the state government giving the Mona Mona Bulmba Corporation a 30-year lease of the 1600-hectare area.
??But- 30 years isn’t a very long time. I hope the community can reach a permanent settlement with the state of Queensland and stay on their lands.
The community’s history sounds like that of many American Indian tribes and nations. The Mona Mona mission was established by the Seventh Day Adventist Church in 1913. Indigenous people, mainly of Djabugay origin, were forcibly taken to the mission to live there. Then, in 1962 they were removed again for a proposed dam. Some people were sent to Palm Island, a penal colony at the time. Others moved to Mareeba and Cairns.
A spokesperson for the Mona Mona Action Group, Glenis Grogan says gaining the lease is a tribute to the strength of her community. “It’s all very exciting and to think with enough passion and commitment you can work together as a community in a united way,” she says.
“What it means is that we’ll be able to develop enterprise, we want to be self-sufficient on the land. It is land that people have bittersweet memories because of the mission. So it’d be nice going down there and it’ll nice knowing we’re the ones in control of our own way forward.”