Crocodile Island Rangers
The Yan-nhangu people of the Crocodile Islands inherit a rich and vibrant ritual, linguistic and ecological knowledge inextricably linked to their sacred ancestral sites in the seas and across the islands.
The Yan-nhangu language is a vehicle for, and repository of this rich cultural and biological knowledge of the sea, the reward of generations of intimate coexistence with their marine and island homelands. The Crocodile Islands Initiative aims to patrol and protect the almost two hundred and fifty square kilometres of sacred sites in ten thousand square kilometres of sea country, safeguarding the songs, ceremonies and language of the Yan-nhangu people.
The Crocodile Islands Initiative was established by the Yan-nhangu people who are the Traditional Aboriginal Owners of the Crocodile islands and surrounding sea country. The aim of the Crocodile Islands Initiative is to create appropriate life education and employment opportunities by increasing the use of Yan-nhangu Indigenous Ecological Knowledge (IEK) and Yan-nhangu language skills in existing training and employment opportunities across the Crocodile islands. This initiative is paid for by the Yan-nhangu people out of their unemployment benefits and pension money.
People want to create opportunities for their children and children’s children to learn traditional knowledge and skills by incorporating the use of their ancestral language in the context of natural resource management activities.
Senior Yan-nhangu say that they want to capture and promote the use of their language of place through experience on country, using practical projects like the emerging Crocodile Islands Ranger (Crocodile Islands Initiative) program. Yan-nhangu are also helping to develop a Web-based IEK data base and encyclopaedia of local knowledge. In partnership with researchers the Yan-nhangu are developing ‘Language Nests’, so pre-school and school aged children can also access local IEK through modern media.