Priscilla Girrabul lived in the Alligator Rivers region. In 1980 she reflected on the challenge which mining posed to her people:
'Now I've got a few things to say. About mining companies. About the land. That land, it belongs to Aborigines. We have got our own land, just as my people a long time ago did. In our land there is something that you know about that we didn't know. Under the ground. My people didn't know about it, they just used to hunt and live, go to sleep; next morning they would go out hunting. They never knew what was there, under the ground. But you do. Europeans know more than us; they know more than what we know about our country. Maybe uranium is there under the ground, or other metals: gold, tin. Now, at this time, we know what's in there, but not in my time, the old people's time. No. We didn't know there was uranium under the ground. We only knew our land. And that is our land. I've got land. My father died, and I'm his eldest daughter. I've got no brother. I had a brother, who had a different mother from me, but he's dead. In my country, in my land, I'm the boss. Mining companies, I think, put a big pressure on Aboriginal people. We know about these metals: gold and uranium, and that the government sends mining companies, that want to go out to Arnhem Land, to mine, just like they did to Nabarlek. And this man, the owner of that land, can hardly walk, he only has one leg, and he didn't understand much, about the land, or about the mining company, and he didn't know what to do. He didn't know that. So he just gave up, and let it happen. We didn't know what the uranium is for. So people are very, very frightened, they are frightened of balanda (whitefellas) coming into their area, looking for these minerals.'
Keywords: Arnhem Land, Girrabul, Priscilla, Kakadu National Park, land ownership, land rights, mining, Northern Territory, Ranger Uranium Mine
Berndt, R (ed) 1982 'Aboriginal sites, Rights and Resource Development', Academy of Social Sciences in Australia/University of Western Australia Press, Perth pp 28-9.
Author: Rowse, Tim and Graham, Trevor
Source: Garrabul, Priscilla