How is Traditional Owner Cultural Leadership Different? The Rainforest Aboriginal Peoples’ Alliance Bama Marrja Leadership Program 2013

Wednesday, 17 June 2015
Robyn Bellafquih
Prof Allan Dale
Joann Schmider
Edward Watkin

Leadership is a connection of the hearts and minds of people. 
In 2013, the Rainforest Aboriginal Peoples’ Alliance conducted a leadership program reaching out to the hearts and minds of the twenty (20) Rainforest Aboriginal people groups across Australia’s Wet Tropics rainforest country in far northern Queensland – The Bama Marrja Leadership Program (Bama Marrja: strong people for rainforest culture, country and kin). With support from social and economic development agencies of the Commonwealth and State Governments and the regional nrm-related bodies Terrain NRM and the Wet Tropics Management Authority, and through the northern plus central plus southern Rainforest Aboriginal peoples’ quorum parties, the 2013 Bama Marrja Leadership Program moved from an idea to a program that continues to impact the lives of Rainforest Aboriginal peoples. Gender-based and intergenerational leadership (ie female, male, Elder and youth) inspired and conducted the program: mindful of community development, native title governance, nrm and ecosystem services development opportunities, and the all-important cultural maintenance legacy. 

The story of Bama Marrja will inspire others to find and act on their tribal/cultural leadership purposes, and will also serve as a way to build, strengthen and advance the unique leadership knowledges, sensitivities and wisdom that can be shared with others attending this conference. Ongoing question from Bama Marrja is: How to meet requests and connect heart + mind support for an ongoing and sustained regional Traditional Owner leadership program?