In our local language, Wik Mungkan, Aak Puul Ngantam translates as ‘Our father’s father’s country’ and refers directly to our ancestral homelands.
The area of Aurukun spans 750,000 hectares and includes a vast area of spectacular coastal wetlands and country of major ecological significance.
Working in partnership with the Wik Prescribed Body Corporate, Ngan Aak Kunch, the Aurukun Shire Council as well as our project partners, APN Cape York’s primary purpose is to help families return to their traditional land in a meaningful way.
While only established in 2011, APN Cape York is connected to a rich history stemming from work first initiated in the 1960′s by people such as John Adams and David Martin who started a company called Aurukun Outstations. Aurukun Outstations helped people manage and live on their homelands by building roads, sheds, airstrips and even a barge. In the 1980′s this work was continued with the Aurukun Community Incorporated (ACI), under the leadership of Bill Whiteman. In addition to infrastructure, ACI helped the families in the Aurukun community with utilising their homeland as an income stream. This included a cattle station operation that once had as many as 45,000 head of cattle.
With Bill Whiteman’s departure, many of the income streams also ended. Since this time many families have found it difficult to support themselves out on country and haven’t been able to get back to their homelands to live, to visit or to take their children and grandchildren.
The establishment of APN Cape York has provided new hope for the community of Aurukun. The programs and initiatives that are designed to encourage community participation not only means the return to country for the older generation but also provides young Wik and Kugu people the opportunity to see their homelands for the first time and help them understand, and connect to their traditional land.
APN Cape Yorks ultimate goal is to help families of the Aurukun community return to their traditional homelands.
Our objectives are to:
- assist traditional owners getting back to country;
- assist traditional owners in the transfer of traditional knowledge to younger generations;
- look after and maintain the cultural and environmental diversity of the natural resources of the Southern Wik and Kugu groups and country;
- promote sustainable economic and training opportunities for all Wik and Kugu people; and
- promote social programs to improve health and educational outcomes for Wik and Kugu people.