Who are the traditional owners of the Daintree?
The traditional owners of the Daintree are the Eastern Kuku Yalanji people, who were granted ownership of the land after reaching a culturally significant and historic deal with the Queensland government in September of 2021. This is a major moment for the First Nations community in far north Queensland and for the Daintree itself, joining Kakadu and Uluru, as UNESCO World Heritage Listed sites with Indigenous custodians.
With roughly 160,000 hectares (close to 400,000 acres) of the Daintree region, including the Daintree National Park, now under traditional ownership, the Kuku Yalanji have exclusive native title rights for camping, fishing, gathering, and conducting ceremonies. Living in harmony with the land for over 50,000 years, the Kuku Yalanji people today still enjoy living, hunting, creating, and eating in much the same way their ancestors did before them.
What are the Kuku Yalanji Dreamtime stories?
Not only is the Daintree a wondrous place to admire some of Mother Nature's best work but it also presents a fantastic opportunity to learn about Aboriginal culture, and more specifically, about the local Kuku Yalanji people's way of life, both centuries ago and today. The traditional owners have a deep and spiritual connection to the land with a rich culture full of stories and legends that have been passed down for generations. These legends have been formed alongside the Daintree itself, evolving and growing to the sounds of trees creaking, water trickling, and birds calling.
There are several ways the Kuku Yalanji can share their history and culture but perhaps one of the best ways is through a Dreamtime Walk. Uncover ancient culture and traditions with a First Nations guide and explore their relationship with the environment around them, listen to tales of cave paintings, and be captivated by the Dreamtime legends.
The legend of Majal Dimbi
One of the Dreamtime legends is the story of Majal Dimbi.
The most prominent of the surrounding mountains in the Daintree, Majal Dimbi (meaning 'mountain holding back' when roughly translated), is said to represent Kubirri in Aboriginal Dreamtime stories. Kubirri came to the defense of the local Kuku Yalanji people, protecting them from the evil spirit, Wurrumbu, and restricting it to The Bluff above Mossman River.