After 17 years and four court hearings, the children of four Cape York tribes will be reconnected with traditional land and customs. On 31 October 2014 the Yir Yoront, Kokobera, Kunjen and Kokoberrin Peoples were granted the final determination in a native title claim covering Kowanyama, Errk Oykangand National Park and several pastoral holdings. The relief and joy felt by the small crowd gathered in the Cairns Supreme Court was tinged with sadness as they remembered those before them who had fought for the return of ancestral lands. Many clutched photos of lost loved ones.

 

Kokoberrin claimant, Lisa Michl explains,

It was a momentous occasion to see our senior elders in traditional Kokoberrin ceremonial dress at the Cairns Court House to hear our Native Title determination. This was a day of great pride and reflection for us all.

 

Traditional owners now have exclusive native title rights over the national park but their rights to water within the area are non-exclusive and it can only be used for non-commercial purposes. New business ventures are planned and the recently launched Cape York Art is just one of the exciting economic development projects underway in the region.