Building the Base ~ Red Earth, Big Skies
The first ever Yeelirrie Solidarity Camp that replaced this year’s Walking for Country was launched at the end of September 2019 as a one week camp out on Tjiwarl country, or better known as the Goldfields region of Western Australia near the site of the proposed uranium mine.
The camp was a massive success, with over thirty interested and passionate people listening, learning and showing their support to the people of both Kalgoorlie and Leonora in their fight to stop uranium mining on their country.
Acknowledging the long fight ahead there is a fierce resistance and boundless hope amongst the group as we deepened relationships to each other and country and formed working groups with our passions and skills. We came away with six working groups, Communication, Outreach, Creatives, Fundraising, Resources and Spokes group. In the afternoon, we broke off into the working groups to talk about the ideas shared, and where they would fit into the timeline. A spokesperson was nominated and from here a national phone link up will be created to report back on each of the working groups. It was an exciting afternoon to see awesome ideas and people around the country able to support the aunties and the community to protect their country and stop uranium mining at Yeelirrie.
Our three core themes for the camp, considering a 10 year campaign strategy, Yeelirrie blockade and active campaigning now, were all addressed during the week and clear outcomes achieved. We have started to build the base of supporters from the massive success of the 8 year walking for country and actions around the State already, the camp clearly identified strong support and campaign strategies. Working groups formed and ideas formulated, we are active. The most important part of the whole camp is that the aunties were delighted to see everyone and to see the support is strong for the future.
Red earth deep in our pores, the landscape etched in our minds, relationships deepened, we leave feeling satisfied to stand with the Tjiwarl women and community that tirelessly fight to stop uranium mining on their country. We stand as one, we stand together to protect country, to look after country.
The camp was created to bring campaigners from around Australia to show solidarity with the Traditional Owners and provide a unique opportunity to learn more about the land, the people and the proposed uranium industry in WA. It was an education, of the land, of the struggles faced by Aboriginal people and a snapshot into what happens out in remote communities when the city isn’t watching. The Yeelirrie Solidarity Camp was a temporary community that learnt to get along, to work collectively and unravel patriarchal patterns in the way we function day to day. While travelling thousands of kilometers we shared information, ideas and conversation. The camp is one way we grow the movement, maintain connections across vast distances, spark wild ideas and fortify ourselves for the next steps. Build the base and bring it on!
K-A Garlick is a CCWA’s nuclear free campaigner and was one of the organisers for the 2019 Yeelirrie Solidarity Camp.