Deputy CEO, Indigenous Desert Alliance
Sam Murray is a Yilka/Wongutha/Nyoongar woman who grew up in Cosmo Newberry Remote Aboriginal Community (where she is a traditional owner) and Laverton and has connections to the broader Central Desert and Goldfields Area.
Her Indigenous name is Imelia and Skin name Panaga.
She has previously been a Director of Yilka Aboriginal Corporation and Yilka Heritage and Land Care which deals with the land management programs and ranger team.
She is currently a Director of Desert Support Services.
Sam is the Deputy CEO Indigenous Desert Alliance (IDA), an Indigenous led organisation that is dedicated to supporting Rangers in the Desert to Look after Country.
Sam’s passion is ensuring that indigenous voices are centralised in planning and project design and that Indigenous people are empowered to apply their considerable skills and expertise to ensure that future generations can benefit from a well looked after Country.
Rangers and their Place in the Biodiversity Yarn
Why it is important that rangers not only have a seat at the table of the biodiversity discussion, but also help to shape it?
The desert is sometimes thought of as an empty dry space, but it is full of life and culture. It is a country that tells stories to the people that listen patiently.
My people are from the desert. We have always looked after our Country as our physical and spiritual home. This role is a significant cultural obligation for Traditional Owners and their communities. Looking after Country also has important wider environmental effects, as Traditional owners observe and respond to changes and emergent threats to Country.
Indigenous people from desert and remote areas of Australia need to be central to conversations regarding biodiversity conservation on their country. Working alongside scientists, land managers and supporters, we can lead the way in looking after Country the right way.
Desert Rangers bring deep cultural knowledge of the processes on Country. This knowledge, from our ancestors, to our living and present communities, comes from country and is invested in Country. We must maintain the value of country for future generations. This knowledge and connection can sit alongside scientific interests and processes for the benefit of all.
Partnerships between ranger groups and knowledge holders with strengths in science and practice must continue and be nurtured for the ongoing protection of country. This is the space that we focus on through our work at the Indigenous Desert Alliance.