NAIDOC week is a time to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, culture and achievements and is an opportunity to recognise the contributions that Indigenous Australians make to our country and our society.

The Dingaal Aboriginal people are the traditional owners of Lizard Island which they call Jiigurru and have lived in this area for tens of thousands of years. Their occupation has spanned times of lower sea levels when the islands were connected to the mainland by grassy plains.

The Dingaal people have been active in assisting the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) in the conservation and management of Lizard Island National Park. They have generously allowed the use of some traditional information so that visitors may share their appreciation for this special place.

Jiigurru is a sacred place for the Dingaal people. It was here that young boys were brought for initiation and that important meetings between Elders of neighbouring clans were held. These islands also provided a base for collecting shellfish, fish, turtles and dugong.

Like other Aboriginal peoples, the Dingaal believe the landscape and seascape of their country was created in the Dreamtime. An important creation story for the Lizard Island group is associated with the stingray—Jiigurru forms the body of the stingray while North Direction Island, South Direction Island and Dingaal (Cape Flattery) form the tail.

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Don’t forget to use the official hashtag #NAIDOC2016 to share your NAIDOC Week stories.