Proponents of a new camp to be built at a defunct community in the sparsely populated Western Deserts hope it will enable Martu people to spend more time on ngurra to engage in cultural activities. The application for Mijijimaya community’s camp some 300km north of Newman was approved at last month’s Shire of East Pilbara council meeting. It requires a shade structure and sanitary facilities to be installed and removal of debris and demolition of a dwelling within the site. The camp will only be used on a temporary basis over a 10 day period for approximately 10-20 people. The former community of Mijijimaya was identified by the Western Desert Lands Aboriginal Corporation as a place to enact their camps on country project. The WDLAC hopes it will provide a significant opportunity for Martu people to spend time on country, engage in cultural practice and connect with their homelands. WDLAC chief executive Tony McRae said connecting with country was an important part of Martu culture. “Late last year we succeeded in getting a grant from BHP and together with WDLAC’s own allocation of funds, we’re developing on country camps at Mijijimaya and Puntawari,” he said. “We planned to refresh existing buildings and update infrastructure to make sure we can spend time on ngurra and stay ngyine (strong inside). “In addition to the family camps, we also want to take young people who need guidance back to country with Elders and community leaders.” Mr Mcrae said a WDLAC representative presented at this year’s Pilbara Summit on June 24 with a clear message. “We urged the leaders of the mining industry to invest in inter-generational knowledge transfer,” he said. “We explained the importance of passing on our science, our language and our knowledge of country to our children.” The Mijijimaya community was established in the 1960’s and closed in 1990 and there is no land use guidelines for the development of the abandoned settlement. The application area is zoned as rural under the current town planning scheme. The objective of the rural zone is to ensure the continuation of rural use and encourage the retention and expansion of rural activities. This includes associated pursuits that are compatible with the capability of the land and the amenity of the location.