Publication Details

Adams, M. (2014). Pukulpa pitjama Ananguku ngurakutu - Welcome to Anangu land: World Heritage at Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. In S. Disko & H. Tugendhat (Eds.), World Heritage Sites and Indigenous Peoples' Rights (pp. 289-311). Copenhagen, Denmark: IWGIA, Forest Peoples Programme and Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation.


Located in the centre of Australia, the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park and World Heritage Site is centred on the huge sandstone monolith Uluru, arguably the best known natural symbol of Australia and a major focus of the tourism industry. The Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara speaking Indigenous people of this Western Desert region of the Northern Territory call themselves Anangu. The landscape of the park includes ecological zones typical of the Central Australian arid ecosystems, as well as the monoliths of Uluru and Kata Tjuta themselves, which have been recognised in Anangu culture and practices for millenia. In Anangu terms, this landscape was created at the beginning of time by ancestral beings who are the direct ancestors of contemporary Anangu. For Anangu, all relationships with each other and with their homeland are governed by Tjukurpa, the law. In Western terms, Anangu have lived in the region that now contains Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park for thousands of years. The landscape bears the marks of their presence in an ecology determined by culturally-specific fire regimes and hundreds of archaeological and art sites. As indicated in the quote above, Tjukurpa determines the responsibilities that present-day Anangu have for continuing to care for the country created by their ancestors. These relationships and responsibilities intersect with modern conservation regimes imposed on the region since 1958. Since 1985, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park has been jointly managed by the Anangu people and Parks Australia, an Australian government conservation bureaucracy.