The river is asking for help

The river is asking for help

Help the lifeblood of the Kimberley, Martuwarra

Martuwarra supports an abundance of life. But the river, a living, ancestral being for First Nations people, is increasingly at risk from those that want to ruthlessly exploit it. An emerging leader in the Kimberley, Hozaus Claire, shares his art and voices his concerns for the mighty Martuwarra.

Image: Hozaus Claire

For First Nations groups along Martuwarra, the River is a living, ancestral being which has been providing for people and nature since the beginning of time.

Billionaires could break the timeless flow of Martuwarra / Fitzroy River—and life in the Kimberley. They want to take 300 gigalitres of water a year from its catchment for irrigation agriculture. That’s more water than Perth and all of southwest WA use in two years.

Hozaus Claire is a spokesperson for the Martuwarra Fitzroy River Council: a First Nations-led non-profit made up of Traditional Custodians from groups along the River. In his words, read how he wishes that those trying to take from the River would appreciate its true value—and the intricate network of life that depends on it. Image above: Jenita Enevoldsen.

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Hozaus Claire’s words are his own and he has kindly shared his story with support from the Martuwarra Fitzroy River Council.

Hozaus' story

Image: Hozaus Claire

My name is Hozaus Claire and I am an emerging leader of the Kimberley. I want to share my story of Martuwarra with you, so I give you something before I ask for your help. I am connected to the River because I grew up along it, listening to my Elders’ stories and learning how to fish, gather and hunt.

My grandfather taught me to paint and he also taught me why we have to protect the River. When I was younger, I’d go with him and other Elders to meetings about the River and land rights.

I saw that my Elders were getting angry and depressed because their River and Country was being threatened. That’s when I started to speak up too.

“They are threatening the River and the people who love and rely on it. And they are breaking First Laws.” —Hozaus Claire, emerging leader from the Kimberley.

I began using art and social media to share the story of Martuwarra with more people around Australia. When you understand what this River means, I hope you will help protect it too.

Image: Hozaus Claire.

In this painting, this River is speaking and I am interpreting its story....

I am River

I am a resource for all life beyond my boundaries. I support the plants and animals and the shared love and respect of the people who live alongside me. I’ve been here for many years. Today, I am under threat and I am asking for your help.

Before you take me away from this Country, understand what I’ve been doing. Let me flow at my own pace. Let me follow the season. Let me provide what’s needed in the right times.

I am the water, the sand on the bank, how bush medicines grow and how the Country stays green and healthy. All people need me, Indigenous and non-Indigenous. Please respect what I provide, my flow and my laws that can’t be broken.

Hozaus Claire’s words are his own and he has kindly shared his story with support from the Martuwarra Fitzroy River Council.

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Support the Martuwarra Fitzroy River Council