The Jawoyn Association has never wavered from the vision of the elders 25 years ago, when the Nitmiluk land claim was underway, to bring the Jawoyn people together as one nation and to develop economic independence.
Over the last 15 years, the leadership group of the Jawoyn Association has enjoyed strong continuity, as well as a broad representation on government and non-government boards and community groups.
The tiers of governance within the association includes:
- Board of Directors
- Council of Elders
The foundation of the Jawoyn’s economic development has been its ownership of land and control of assets. Without the secure title that it enjoys, the Jawoyn Association would not be where it is today.
The Jawoyn people made a decision early on that most of the royalties received by the organisation would be re-invested rather than distributed.
Land tenure has provided a strong bargaining position in the establishment of our land management and cultural heritage programs, as well as business oriented joint management arrangements.
The association aims to maintain the right balance between cultural, environmental and mainstream needs. We have faced many situations in which economic opportunities have had the potential to conflict with cultural or enviromnental imperatives. For example, allowing mining to go ahead at Guratba (Coronation Hill) would have provided an enormous economic boost to the Jawoyn people, however the consequences of disturbing the dangerous Bula site were too great for the Jawoyn people to contemplate.
We argued against mining in the region and won the battle to have our cultural legacy recognised. There have been other occasions where the association has chosen sustainable development and cultural beliefs over the lure of “quick” money.
Committed and competent staff and consultants are an integral part of our success story. The association is committed to ensuring the right mix of staff and consultants are engaged to maintain a high level of professionalism and self-motivation. The benefits of appropriate training and professional development is recognised and supported.
The development of strong partnerships with other Aboriginal organisations, businesses, governments and non-government organisations also contributes to the positive work the Jawoyn Association sets out to do. We have worked hard to maintain positive partnerships with major Aboriginal organisations across the sectors. The association also recognises the benefits of working closely with governments and private enterprise.
Growing any organisation is demanding and none more so than an Aboriginal business with competing demands. The Jawoyn people made a decision early on that most of the royalties received by the organisation would re-invested rather than distributed.
This decision has received a lot of pressure over the years from some members, but the executive and board has maintained its position. Due to this approach, the organisation now has a relatively secure and sustainable income stream from which it can use to invest in other projects directly benefitting members.