Our ranger group has arisen out of need. While Kakadu National Park has been looked after as a World Heritage Area by the Australian Government from 1981, across the East Alligator River there has been relatively little support for land management activities on the Aboriginal lands, other than the traditional activities of Aboriginal people themselves.
Our lands, which straddle the East Alligator River are the ‘gateway’ to Arnhem Land and are important in the management of fire and control of weeds adjacent to the World Heritage Area. Our lands contain important cultural places, plants and animals that must be looked after in Binninj way for our country and culture to be healthy. Our lands also renowned internationally for the spectacular meeting of stone country and wetlands and the rock art sites that are found in thousands throughout our clan estates.
Our Ranger program is heavily directed by the six seasons Binninj recognise. During the dry seasons, from May to October we can access our country and this is a busy time for ranger work and looking after tourists. During the wet seasons, from December to May, we cannot access much of our country. Gunbalanya is completely cut-off from the rest of Australia, as rising water from the Alligator River surrounds the township. This is a time for us to undertake different types of work including planning, training and cultural education.
Njanjma Rangers operate under the Djabulukgu Association Incorporated (DAI). This association was established in 1982 in connection with the negotiations in relation to the approvals for the original Jabiluka Mine to represent traditional owners in the areas of Northern Kakadu and adjacent Western Arnhem Land. Since 1982, DAI has provided services in the region employment, aged and health care, housing and infrastructure. It also owns and operates a number of tourism businesses. Through an Indigenous Employment Program, DAI developed the Njanjma Rangers in response to the desire from Bininj to have a greater ability to work on our country and to train and educate young people for work in land management.
Our passion for caring for our clan estates sees us naturally wanting to work to maintain healthy country, ecosystems and protected threatened plant and animal species. We seek to maintain and enhance the deep cultural connections within the region by protecting cultural sites and transferring cultural knowledge from older to younger generations