About the Bunuba People
Bunuba people have been living on the land for over 40,000 years.
The Bunuba People are the traditional owners of a huge tract of land in the West Kimberley, near the township of Fitzroy Crossing. They have a proud history living on this country with traditions and cultures being handed down from generation to generation. In the last 150 years the white man (Katyia) and their cattle stations were forcibly established on Bunuba country but not without considerable resistance and blood shed. These stations could not have been established without aboriginal labour and station life became their way of life. The men became drovers and the women became the homestead servants. In the early days they were largely unpaid for their labour, but in the late 60's this all changed. Equal pay for equal work conditions reached the Kimberley and station owners reacted by evicting most of the native people from the station and their traditional lands. Communities like Fitzroy Crossing were inundated with station outcastes from 5 different language groups. For many years conditions in these communities were atrocious with most living in humpies made from tin and scrap timber with no hygene and minimal health services. They were given "the dole" and citizenship meant they could frequent the local pub. Alcoholism became a way of life for many who had no meaningful work and had suffered trauma from being separated from their traditional ways, culture and , in many cases, from their families.
Of course change has meant adaption but the Bunuba people are proud that their culture that has endured despite the incredible upheaval, brutal cruelty and dissociation suffered at the hands of Katiya.
In recent years there has been significant effort to improve conditions for aboriginal communities, but the trauma is deep and will take many generations to heal.