Strong cultures and languages must underscore progress across the three streams to close the gap.
Unless we keep our cultures and languages strong, closing the gap simply means assimilation. Conversely, without socioeconomic development, our cultures and languages will continue to decline.
Most Cape York people will readily agree that, as one person put it during discussions on this topic, “even if your only interest is in keeping culture strong, it can’t be done without economic development.”
Some Economic Development opportunities are easily aligned with keeping our cultures and languages strong.
Other economic Development opportunities, such as mining may appear more difficult to reconcile with the connectedness of First Nation’s land and cultures.
The reality is, however, that Cape York’s Indigenous people cannot build a future based only on eco-tourism. We can lift our children from disadvantage and create wealth from mining where it is appropriate. We need to build our economic strength at the same time as we keep our culture strong, like the Jews, Indians and Chinese have done successfully in Australia.
It is First Nations themselves that must decide how we will nurture our culture, while we also face the reality that business is business in Cape York, as is the case in China or Sydney