Ranging from the Bloomfield River in the south to just north of the Jardine River, Cook Shire occupies 80 per cent of the Cape York Peninsula.
About half of the Shire’s 4400 population live in Cooktown on the banks of Walmbaal Birri (Endeavour River). This is the place where Lieutenant James Cook and the Endeavour landed in 1770, staying for 48 days.
2020 marks the 250th anniversary of this landing and the interactions between the Guugu Yimithirr people and the crew of the Endeavour. Over three weeks the Cooktown Expo 2020 will remember this moment, as well as showcase Cooktown’s 250 years of shared history.
The Cultural Connections Program is partnering with the Cook Shire Council’s Community, Innovation and Economy team to support the employment of 2020 Indigenous Projects Officer Sha-lane Gibson.
Sha-lane has extensively engaged with Indigenous communities throughout Cape York to find out how they wanted to be represented in the Cooktown Expo 2020, which resulted in the decision to develop an Indigenous showcase.
The Ngutha-ngutha Bama Showcase will form an integral part of the Cooktown 2020 Expo, taking visitors on a journey into the cultural heritage and daily life of the region’s Indigenous peoples through performances, demonstrations, workshops and storytelling.
The showcase aims to work in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in Cape York to incorporate their perspectives, celebrate their cultures and educate visitors about local Indigenous knowledge and history.
The Cultural Connections Program has enabled me as a traditional owner to work with my family to incorporate first hand indigenous knowledge and stories into the Cooktown Expo 2020 250th Anniversary commemoration. I have an opportunity to work with my elders to showcase our culture and history to the world and provide a platform for employment as well as knowledge and skill building. The Cultural Connections Program has opened the door to the indigenous side of Cook’s journals and emphasised the importance of indigenous input into the festivities. It has opened doors for many of our indigenous community members to gain economic development whilst being proud of our culture.
Banner photo: Steve Back Photography