INDIGENOUS WORKING GROUP
TIEC's Indigenous Working Group (IWG) comprises Traditional Owners with interest, knowledge and skills
in ethnobotany and advises TIEC on direction, relationships and strategy. The IWG ensures TIEC is Indigenous-driven and links TIEC into Indigenous communities.
Gerry is an Mbabaram man from north Qld and been employed by the Queensland State Government for about 30 years. Gerry has previously been involved in the Queensland Herbarium’s Vegetation Surveys and Regional Ecosystem Mapping Project in Queensland. He currently manages the Tropical Indigenous Ethnobotany Centre at the Australian Tropical Herbarium, in partnership with James Cook University, Dept. of Environment and Science and CSIRO, and has worked with many Traditional Owner groups on Cape York and other parts of Queensland. As an Indigenous ethnobotanist Gerry has a strong cultural commitment to facilitating effective partnerships that support Indigenous communities to protect, manage and maintain their cultural knowledge on the use of plants. Gerry is a member of the Ecological Society of Australia Board of Directors with the role of Indigenous Engagement, and a member of the NESP Threatened Species Recovery Hub Indigenous Reference Group. In 2013, Gerry took out the first ever science award at the 2013 National Indigenous Deadly Awards for best scientist or science Project of the Year category.
Virginia (Wiradjuri Nyemba) is a practicing Lawyer/Educator & Writer. She is the Inaugural Indigenous Postdoctoral Fellow with the Schools of Regulation & Global Governance and the Fenner School of the Environment & Society of the Australian National University. Virginia’s seminal book on Aboriginal water rights, ‘Overturning Aqua Nullius’ with a foreword by the Hon. Michael Kirby, was integral to the Murray-Darling Basin Royal Commission 2019 in its understanding of Aboriginal water issues and ontologies. Virginia has extensive experience in Indigenous peoples and intellectual property. She is recognised as a Distinguished Woman Scholar by the University of Victoria Canada BC, Expert Member for Water to the World Economic Forum and Pacific Region representative for the UN Secretary General’s meeting on Climate Change in Mexico City 2019.
Jennifer's mother is LamaLama/Ayapathu and father is Kaantju/Uutaalnganu. She acknowledges and respects her mother’s country and understands she and her families have the right to visit, hunt and camp on her mother’s and father’s country.
She recognises that it is right to notify the elders on country when she goes on to LamaLama and Ayapathu country.
Jennifer has worked for Kalan Enterprises as the Cultural Heritage Officer for ten years. She was born and bred and still lives, works, hunts, collects and gathers bush material on her father’s country which covers five Land Trusts – Thypan/Tuulka, Oyala Thumotang, KULLA, Wathada and Paal. She sits on the Board of Directors for all of these Land Trusts except Oyala Thumotang.
Jennifer is the Coordinator/Choreographer of the local Traditional dance team from Coen, which is called ALLKUMO Malpa Paman. ALLKUMO is an acronym for the six Clan groups from Coen and the surrounding region.
With her partner Benjamin Giblet, Jennifer runs a small hire car business out of Coen, since 2015.
Kaylene Nalpajuwi Malthouse is a Malanbarra Yidinji woman. Her name is derived from the Dancing Revitalisation Spirit. Her mother Grace Mary Ambrum was a Yidinji Ndjan woman from the Atherton Tablelands. Kaylene has fond memories of her mother sitting with her mother and her sisters and aunties under the stars and each with their children wrapped in handmade quilts made by themselves from cloth backed with open bags.
Her Great Great Grandfather's estate commences at Toohey's Creek waterways on the Atherton Tablelands which runs through Gadgarra Forest into the Mulgrave River in the Goldsborough Valley, taking in the Gillies range.
From the age of seven, Kaylene worked in the potato farms in Atherton Tablelands supporting the senior women who worked there. This was her introduction into a traditional process of her becoming a respectful, responsible and resilient woman. This background training saw her develop a career of advocacy for her people. At 13 her father, Nungabuna (George Davis) established the Biddi Biddi Housing Co-op. This name comes from the metamorphosis of the Jumbin (witchety grub) to a Biddi Biddi (White beetle). The Jumbin lives in the Candle nut Tree and is gently cut out for food or bait for fishing.
Kaylene spent valuable time with her father being immersed in cultural practice while working with the linguist Professor Bob Dixon to document and revitalise their language. He taught her the importance of dedication and she became a staunch advocate for her people in all things that effect their lives. She moved through education as a teachers assistant and moved to work in homework centres looking after the kids from remote communities of the Cape and Torres Straits. Then moving into the child protection area where for nearly a decade she has advocated for the return of our children in care back home to their Kin.
Kaylene has been the Chair of the North Queensland Land Council for 2 years and a director of the Council for 10 years. She has been involved in the constitutional reform conversations. Kaylene also Chairs a local Traditional Owner Alliance and continues to advocate for our peoples.
Harold is a Bulgun Warra man whose Traditional Land lies west of Cooktown. He identifies with the “Black Cockatoo” group from inland areas. Harold has spent many years in different communities in Cape York. He is a father of eight and with his partner is also carer for two children.
His grandfather and grandmother are part of the Stolen Generation. His grandmother died without ever going back to her country, which has been the catalyst of Harold’s push for indigenous issues to be taken seriously and not tokenistically. Harold has been advocating for Indigenous people since his late 20’s.
Harold has represented Cape York in Geneva, presenting alongside other advocates on the “Payment for Eco-System Services” on Cape York, an argument why & how the Environment can be better cared for whilst boosting employment for the Indigenous people of Cape York. He presented the same paper at the “Rio +20” Summit. He has also been a part of campaigns such as “Give us a Go” against the proposed Wild Rivers legislation that affected rights and development opportunities for Indigenous people in Cape York, Constitutional Reform’s “Recognise”, and advocating for the Hopevale’s Men’s Shed.
In 2013 Harold attended the Diplomacy Training on the United Nations “Declaration on Rights of Indigenous People” with UNSW on the Sunshine Coast QLD which he embraced and which gave him hope to continuing work for the First Australians. In 2015 he also furthered his Human Rights diplomacy training by attending a 10 day training as front line defender in Myanmar.
In 2011 Harold joined the inaugural Emerging Indigenous Leaders Program, and in 2013 became a facilitator for the second round of Emerging Indigenous Leaders that toured various States around Australia looking at and interacting with different programs and projects utilised by Indigenous communities.
In 2014 Harold lead 'Recognise', which visited many communities on Cape York to garner support for a push to amend the Australian constitution to recognise the Indigenous people as the first people. Although people in rural communities know little of the Australian Constitution they still understood the issue of feeling like second class citizens in a country they and their forebears have occupied for over 60,000 years.
Australia deems itself as a “First Nation” and Harold’s ambition is to bring standards for his people to the level enjoyed by non-Indigenous Australians.
John is a Biocultural Strategist with expertise, experience and commitment in advancing First Nation Peoples rights-based approaches across a broad scope of project intersections that encompass biocultural diversity and biocultural values. His work is targeted through a primary substantive rights lens, understanding the spatial structures of customary landscapes, their genetic resources, living customary laws, customary governance and decision-making. His professional integrity is evidenced by his long-term commitment to TIEC objectives and current roles in Wet Tropics World Heritage Scientific Advisory Committee and Rainforest Aboriginal Peoples ‘Think Tank’ as well as the Traditional Knowledge RoundTable review of Queensland biodiscovery legislation. Through his business, BioCultural Consulting, John is committed to contributing to the recognition, elevation and adoption of Indigenous knowledge systems as a national asset and Indigenous science and its function in convergent science.