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How a former ranger in the WA is transforming Indigenous tourism in Australia

Johani Mamid started his career as a ranger, and now, as one of Kimberley's leading Indigenous tour operators, he’s using his platform to not only educate about his culture but ensure its preservation.

Johani Mamid started his career as a ranger, and now, as one of Kimberley’s leading Indigenous tour operators, he’s using his platform to not only educate about his culture but ensure its preservation.

It was a passion for his Country, stories, and songs that made Johani Mamid think he’d give tourism a go.

Five years on, the owner of Indigenous tour company, Mabu Buru Tours is not only ensuring the vital education about his culture – he’s giving back to it too.

Last year Mamid, launched social enterprise, Mabu Buru Foundation.

“We realised we spend a lot of our profits in practising lore and culture and we knew that some of our partners do this as well. So, we created the foundation to do this in a smart and formal way.

“We contribute 50 per cent of our profits into Mabu Buru Foundation for the purpose of supporting the practice and survival of Aboriginal lore and culture in the West Kimberley region.”

The foundation channels funds into environmental conservation and the preservation of significant cultural sites and practices.

It also works with schools, organisations and community groups to deliver cultural awareness programs, educational resources and activities that promote a deeper understanding and appreciation of Indigenous culture.

And it helps create jobs and business opportunities for Aboriginal people, promoting entrepreneurship and supporting economic development initiatives that align with cultural values and aspirations.

Mabu Buru Tours aims to not only educate travellers but also ensure the preservation of local Indigenous culture
Mabu Buru Tours aims to not only educate travellers but also ensure the preservation of local Indigenous culture

Collaboration is key in Indigenous tourism

Mamid’s newest tour, The Broome Ultimate Aboriginal Culture Expedition, is a collaboration of experiences offered by authentic Aboriginal tourism operators in and around the Broome area. 

“It’s a perfect mixture of land, sea and air. The experience isn’t just conducted by Yawuru, the tour operators involved come from a diverse Aboriginal heritage – they come from different tribal groups from the Broome area.

“It’s the ultimate cultural immersion. It’s not just about entertainment or sightseeing. There is a lot more to it. It’s about teaching who we are, and why we are the way that we are as Indigenous people in and around the Broome area.

Learning about local culture on a Mabu Buru Indigenous tour
Learning about local culture on a Mabu Buru Indigenous tour

And, as a part-time crocodile wrangler, guests often get more than they signed up for.

“I ended up applying for a licence to own saltwater crocodiles, which I have at my house. So, when you go on the Wakaj experience, you see the crocodiles as a bonus. It’s not something we promote on the tour, but our guests get to see them as part of the experience.”

But, if there was one thing Mamid would like those going on his tours to take out of it, he says it’s “a better sense of understanding about Aboriginal people in the West Kimberley region and what we have to offer”.

And he walks the talk, ensuring through his foundation he’s giving back to do just that.

For more information, visit Broome Aboriginal Tours and Discover Aboriginal Experiences.