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Byron Shire
December 4, 2022

Historic ceremony to protect our roos

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Members of the Yuin community will meet at New South Wales Parliament House this Thursday to conduct a smoking ceremony and deliver a message stick at a historic event calling for the Australia-wide protection of kangaroos. 

The event will be hosted by NSW Upper House MP for the Animal Justice Party, Mark Pearson, who will be joined by Yuin men Uncle Dean Kelly and Peter Hewitt, and NSW Greens MP Sue Higginson.

‘Buru, the kangaroo, has been protected for thousands of years – we are mentally, physically and spiritually connected to this ancient animal through our living cultural lore,’ said Uncle Dean Kelly.

‘We all must protect Buru, the kangaroo.

Our old people, our ancients, have protected Buru under our natural lore we must continue this. The gifting ceremony of the message stick brings together the written law of NSW and our cultural lore – the message stick represents our ongoing cultural protection for Buru and for thousands of years to come.

‘This gifting of the message stick is an opportunity to look more closely at our NSW bylaws together. The ceremony brings together the two knowledge systems: Buru is protected under our lore; we want Buru protected under NSW written law, and our living lore recognised.’

The wooden message stick is engraved with an image of a kangaroo.

The engraving depicts our ancient connection to Buru,’ said Peter Hewitt.

‘Buru respectfully holds his song lines and like us is spiritually connected to the Minga (mother earth). The image depicts this ancient balance and connection between the natural elements.  The message stick authenticates our living cultural lore, cultural responsibilities, and spiritual kinship to Buru.’

Mr Pearson said the ceremony will be a historical day of international significance.
‘The world has seen that Australia guns down its national icon by the millions, and routinely bludgeons joeys to death,’ he said.

The Yuin Declaration for Kangaroos acknowledges the sentience, intelligence, and ancient history of kangaroos, and recognises that kangaroos have their own Songlines, language, culture and dreaming.

The declaration also recognises the spiritual, cultural, and environmental connection First Nations people have with kangaroos, and calls on federal and state law to protect them with no exemption.

Kangaroos are protected in every Australian state and territory, but legislation allows millions to be killed for commercial and non-commercial purposes each year.

The Yuin Declaration for Kangaroos declares as kangaroos national treasures that ‘shall not be sold or subjected to any inhumane, cruel or degrading treatment’.


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