So-Called Australia: Djab Wurrung Camp Resisting Eviction to Defend their Land & Sacred Trees

The original owners at the Djab Wurrung Heritage Protection Embassy are angered by the eviction order served on them by the government of the so-called State of Victoria on August 8th, 2019.
It gives the demonstrators 14 days to leave their sacred land to make way for a new shorter stretch of highway between Ararat and Buangor.
For 14 months, the Djab Wurrung Protection Embassy has been fighting the 12.5km long replacement on the Western Highway because it will destroy Djab Wurrung Songlines and hundreds of important trees, including some that are up to 800 years old.

The decision means one thing: the government want to pick a fight with the original owners of the land.

About the Djap Wurrung Heritage Protection Embassy

We are sitting here on Djapwurrung country protecting sacred trees.

These beautiful trees include an 800 year old tree that has seen over 50 generations born inside of a hollow in her trunk and a 350 year old directions tree that has been shaped and resembles a Woman. This area is part of the song line, the series of scared trees and artifacts we find here regularly prove it’s significance.

To our People, the land is our means of survival.

It is our food, spirit, identity and culture. Our lands have a spiritual value and not an economic one. If the land is destroyed so is our dreaming. Our dreaming is our story. It is what connects us to the beginning of time, back to our spirit ancestors, our creators.

Vic Roads plan to create a 4 Lane Highway.

It’s located just outside of Ararat, this is why we are sitting on Country now. If this 12km stretch goes ahead 3000 trees will be gone, including the sacred trees and their protected habitats. All this devastation is in the name of cutting 3 minutes off the existing highways travel time.

Over the past few months, we’ve set up three camps.

We’ve been taking bold action thereby preventing work form starting and demanding the project is cancelled. It’s no easy task but we know it must be done. The small examples must be won or the big examples will continue to get bigger and this nation and all of its People will be lost forever.

Article by Amanda Mahomet: Barking Up The Wrong Tree

MEDIA RELEASE –

08 Aug 2019

Barking Up The Wrong Tree

Daniel Andrews issues eviction order to Traditional Owners on Djab Wurrung Country.

Traditional Owners at the Djab Wurrung Heritage Protection Embassy are furious this morning after police issued the Embassy with an eviction notice, giving the Djab Wurrung people 14 days to vacate their sacred landscape to make way for the Western Highway duplication between Ararat and Buangor

Since the protest camp was set up 14 months ago by the Djab Wurrung people, thousands of people have passed through the Embassy, expressing their support for the Traditional Owners in their efforts to protect country, sacred song lines and culturally significant trees.

“This notice says one thing, the Andrews Government wants to pick a fight with the Traditional Owners of this Land” says Zellenach Djab Mara, Lore Man at the Djab Wurrung Protection Embassy.

“We have lived here on Country for 14 months now, and at the end of the day we’re not going to put up with it, we’re not going to tolerate it. We’re not moving until our sacred lands are protected. Sovereignty was never ceded.”

The Embassy has been opposing the duplication of a 12.5 kilometre stretch of the Western Highway, on the basis that it will destroy the Djab Wurrung song lines and hundreds of significant trees, including a 350 year old directions tree.

“This country belongs to the women and children of the Djab Wurrung people, our ancestors and our future generations. We are the traditional custodians of this part of country, and by not engaging with us, Daniel Andrews is asking for this to get ugly.”

The Djab Wurrung people have suggested an alternative route that would protect the sacred trees, and recommend that safety on the road can be maximised by lowering the speed limit. “At the end of the day there’s nothing to negotiate. This is women’s country we’re not going anywhere. Daniel Andrews needs to intervene and stop the destruction of our heritage. The eviction notice must be lifted and Major Roads Victoria needs to restart planning for this project, with Djab Wurrung at the centre of any negotiations.”

Update from August 21st: Numbers Flock to Djab Wurrung Embassy

MEDIA RELEASE –

21 Aug 2019

Numbers flock to Djab Wurrung Sacred Land

Over 500 people on site as State sanctioned eviction looms

Numbers at the Djab Wurrung Protection Embassy are at an all time high as the Major Roads Victoria’s eviction noticed draws to a close. Traditional Owners were given 14 days to vacate their sacred landscape on the 8th of August after they have camped on Country for 15 months in opposition to the Western Highway Duplication just outside Ararat.

Since the protest camp was set up thousands of people have passed through the Embassy, but the show of support on the eve of eviction demonstrates the broad base of people that want this landscape protected.

“We’ve seen over 500 people journey to Country to stop this road and protect sacred Djab Wurrung song lines once and for all.” Said Amanda Mohamet, Embassy Representative

“The numbers we’ve seen today make clear that Premier Daniel Andrews will be on the wrong side of history if the Victorian Government pushes ahead to desecrate this sacred Women’s Country.”

The Embassy has been opposing the duplication of a 12.5 kilometre stretch of the Western Highway, on the basis that the Victorian Government failed to consult with the Djab Wurrung people and give Tradition Owners the opportunity to make a free, prior and informed decision on the future of their land.

“If this eviction notice has done one thing, its shown that we have Australians from all walks of life behind us. We are the traditional custodians of this part of country, and we have a cultural obligation to be here,” said Amanda

The Djab Wurrung people have been pushing for the road project to take the alternative northern route, which would protect the sacred trees and have the saved millions of dollars the Government has wasted by failing to consult with the Djab Wurrung people.

“At the end of the day we’re not going anywhere until our sacred Women’s Country is safe. Daniel Andrews needs to intervene and stop the destruction of our heritage. The eviction notice must be lifted and Major Roads Victoria needs to restart planning for this project, with Djab Wurrung at the centre of any negotiations.”

Djab Wurrung Heritage Protection Embassy Website

(via Deutschland Indymedia)

 

 

 

 

 

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