Rewriting region's history

MURWILLUMBAH farmer and descendent of one of the district’s oldest pioneering families James McKenzie has taken to battle to change what he and some Aboriginal Elders believe to be false history to neighbouring Byron Shire Council.

Mr McKenzie and Harry Boyd, who have been trying to get Tweed Shire Council to ditch references to the Bundjalung people as early custodians of the shire, last week took their argument to Byron councillors.

Mr McKenzie told them the Aboriginal nations known as Arakwal and Bundjalung are a fiction, based on racist European versions of history and language.

He said the true identities of the people of the region had been removed as a result of this “false cultural information” and the Byron Bay Arakwal have assumed a false identity, based on an historical fabrication.

The Arakwal people never existed, Mr McKenzie said, an argument which would invalidate agreements signed with the Arakwal people by NSW National Parks and Byron Shire, which he said “rub out the Ngaraakwal, Nerackbul and Gindvul people”.

Mr Boyd told Byron councillors said the term “Bundjalung” was made up by white men, misconstrued from linguists’ descriptions of the Banjalang dialect chain.

McKenzie claimed there was no Bundjalung nation, tribe, people, language, culture, clan, nor horde.

“No Bundjalung anything,” he said.

The two men want to see a parliamentary inquiry “into the scandals and the politicians involved”.

Mr Boyd last week also asked Tweed MP Geoff Provest to table in parliament a complaint involving a major development at Kingscliff.

Mr Boyd said his people have been removed from the Aboriginal reference group for the multi-million dollar resort development on beachside crown land – Lot 490.



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