Bininj Man James Morgan Shares Kakadu’s Culture Through Yibekka Tours

Bininj Man James Morgan Shares Kakadu's Culture Through Yibekka Tours

James Morgan, a proud Bininj man, is on a mission to share his culture and create opportunities for his community in Kakadu National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In 2021, at the young age of 24, he founded Yibekka Kakadu Tours, a tourism venture focused on showcasing Kakadu’s cultural significance through Bininj eyes. Bininj Man James Morgan Shares Kakadu’s Culture Through Yibekka Tours

Closing the Gap in Indigenous Tourism Representation

Prior to Yibekka, Morgan noticed a lack of Bininj representation in Kakadu’s tourism industry. “Most tour guides were non-Indigenous,” he told National Indigenous Times, highlighting a missed opportunity. With a rich cultural heritage spanning over 65,000 years, the Bininj people are the rightful storytellers of Kakadu.

Yibekka: Listening and Feeling Kakadu

Yibekka Kakadu Tours offers immersive experiences centered around Burrungkuy (Nourlangie) rock art shelter, a pivotal site contributing to Kakadu’s World Heritage status. Through two-hour tours, Morgan shares ancestral knowledge passed down through generations, fostering a deeper understanding of the rock art’s stories and significance.

Beyond the Numbers: A Celebration of Living Culture

“Yibekka Kakadu” translates to “listen and feel Kakadu” in the Bininj language. Morgan’s tours go beyond simply stating the age of the rock art. He emphasizes the enduring Bininj culture and the artistic expression evident in the paintings, some dating back tens of thousands of years and others surprisingly recent, from the 1960s.

Preserving Culture for Future Generations

These tours serve as a vital tool for cultural preservation. “It’s important to make sure our stories are passed onto the next generation,” says Morgan. By sharing his knowledge with visitors, he ensures the continuity of Bininj traditions and history.

Expanding the Vision: Collaboration over Expansion

While initially considering expanding Yibekka beyond his ancestral land, Morgan prioritizes cultural respect. He chooses to collaborate with other Aboriginal guides, empowering them to develop their own tourism businesses and share their unique stories.

Bininj Mungguy Aboriginal Corporation: Building Cultural Sustainability

Morgan’s vision extends beyond Yibekka. In 2023, he established the Bininj Mungguy Aboriginal Corporation, connecting Bininj people with diverse work opportunities in conservation, tourism, and research projects within Kakadu.

A Passionate Leader with a Purpose

Balancing his roles as tour guide, entrepreneur, and community leader requires dedication. Yet, Morgan finds deep fulfillment in his work. He aspires to use a portion of Yibekka’s profits to fund projects promoting self-determination and cultural independence for the Bininj community.

Yibekka Kakadu Tours exemplifies the successful integration of tourism and cultural sustainability. James Morgan’s dedication to sharing his culture and empowering his community paves the way for a brighter future where the Bininj people are the custodians of their own stories and traditions within Kakadu National Park.

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Source: https://nit.com.au/25-06-2024/12075/sustaining-one-of-the-worlds-oldest-living-cultures-in-kakadu

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