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Seafarers & Food Growers
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The Meriam lived in eight clan territories around the coastal rim of their Island homes. They owned and worked plots of land which spread across the island. A vast patchwork of irregular strips, some as small as one hundred square metres.

"They are crooked boundaries", James Rice, a senior Meriam land owner explained in 1989. not at all like the straight line boundaries of land allotments in Australia.

The Meriam practiced slash and burn agriculture, and fished from the shore, in lagoons, and on the Islands fringing reefs. They grew staple foods in the rich volcanic soil, sweet potatoes, manioc, coconuts, bananas and other fruit, but most importantly, some thirty varieties of yam, a crop shrouded in secret garden lore.

They were also great seafarers, and took part in a complex network of customary exchange throughout the region.
Eddie Koiki Mabo - JCU lectures with sardine scoop
Image
1970s
James Cook University, Mabo, Edward Koiki, sardine scoop, Townsville, weris
A Voyage to Terra Australis
Text
1814
canoes, european contact, Flinders, Matthew , Mer, sea, Torres Strait
...This yam is like a bank...
Text
 
Land Bilong Islanders, land ownership, yams
The Haddon map of Mer
Image
1935
Cambridge Anthropological Expedition, clans, Haddon, A.C., land boundaries, map, Mer, tribes
Adapted To Their Continent
Topic
 
Australia, First Fleet, indigenous people, land use
The Murray Islanders' Evidence
Topic
1986
evidence, Mabo, Edward Koiki, Murray Island, plaintiffs, witnesses
Sea Claims
Topic
 
Federal Government, Australia, fish traps, fishing, Great Barrier Reef, Meriam culture, sacred, sea rights
A Meriam Calendar, Ancient & Modern
Topic
 
fishing, food gathering, gardening, Mer, Meriam culture, Murray Island
Sea Rights
Topic
 
Federal Government, Australia, fishing, Meriam culture, sea rights
Farming The Sea
Topic
 
fishing, Great Barrier Reef, Meriam culture, sea rights
Hierarchies Of Land Use
Topic
 
barbarism, colonisation, terra nullius
In Meriam Waters
Topic
 
fishing, Great Barrier Reef, Meriam culture, sea rights, seafarers, Torres Strait
Listening To The Sea
Topic
 
fishing, Great Barrier Reef, sea rights, seafarers
Something Deep Within Us
Topic
 
fishing, Great Barrier Reef, sacred, sea rights, seafarers