stories.acf.org.au
OLKOLA HANDOVER by ACF
Born in the town of Coen in central Cape York, Olkola Traditional Owner and Elder, Mike Ross, has lived his whole life on the Cape. From his days mustering cattle in Far North Queensland to today as head of peak Aboriginal bodies that oversee the Cape’s management — Mike’s deep connection to country remains unbroken. “The whole Olkola nation is special to people but each family got a special area and I got this special area where I like visiting. I like taking my family there, and my boys there. And maybe at a later stage I take my grandchildren and get them to get that feeling of what I’ve got now.”— Mike Ross, OLKOLA ELDERFor decades Mike has worked long and hard supporting Traditional Owner groups campaigning to have their land returned to them. And for thirty years he has fought for his own country to be returned to its rightful owners. On December 10th 2014, 633,630 hectares of ancestral homelands were handed back to the Olkola people. This is a life-changing result for the Olkola. Now the largest non-government landholders in the region, they will play a huge role in determining the future of Australia’s Cape York and its people.