The NPA Region is made up of five indigenous communities. There are three aboriginal communities; Injinoo, Umagico and new Mapoon, and two Saibai Islander communities; Seisia and Bamaga.
The first established settlement in the NPA region was that of five semi-nomadic tribes, who came together in peace to settle Injinoo at the mouth of Cowal Creek (meaning Small River). These clans were the Anggamuthi, Atambaya,
The people of Injinoo still practise traditional hunting rights and cultural ceremonies, including traditional dance, song and cooking.
To maintain proper management of the land and it’s resources, elected community members form the Aputhama Lands Trust board. They work closely with the NPA Rangers, based in Injinoo, to manage traditionally owned land.
Formed by one of Injinoo’s founding families, the Williams, who wanted to live seperate to the community, George Williams was at the time working for cattle baron Frank Jardine. Jardine provided the Williams family with a home and land, with permission from the traditional owners, the people of Injinoo.
When the people of Lockhart River were forced from their own land, they were given permission by the traditional owners, the Williams and the Jardines to settle at the homestead in Umagico. The community’s name means ‘Black headed python place.
When the people of Saibai Island began to fear for their future supplies of fresh water, a few families decided to relocate to the mainland. Saibai Island is a small Island (aproximately 6km-20km)built up from alluvial soils washed from the river systems of neighbouring islands of Papua New Guinea, only 5km North. The island is prone to flooding, often contaiminating fresh water supplies with storm surges.
In 1948, a government reservation was created for the people of Saibai Island wishing to migrate to the mainland. The Injinoo people granted permission for them to settle in ther area now known asMutee Heads, as construction of the Bamaga township was underway. By 1954, the majority of construction was completed and more Saibai Islander families moved to the mainland to settle in Bamaga. The community was named after it’s founder, Bamaga Ginau and is now the administrative hub of the NPA, as it is in the center of the five communities.
There is a public pool in Bamaga and community hall and ovals and Gymnastics Center with the lastest equipment.
The people of Mapoon (now known as Old Mapoon), were forcibly removed from their homes and mission housing in the 1960s, to allow for Bauxite mining to commence in the area. Some went south to resettle near Cairns, some moved North to a resettlement in the NPA, named New Mapoon. Though they are traditionally a peoples from the coast, the settlement was chosen as appropriete due to the fresh water spring located at the back of the community. Indeed, the area was traditionally named after ‘Mandingnou’, meaning ‘Place of spring’.
The people of Mapoon still have very strong ties to their homeland, and some have moved back to resettle in the area of their original community. They still practice culture through telling the stories of their ancestors and homelands through art, song and dance.
The NPA Arts Centreis based in New Mapoon, a centre open to the community, to support all forms of indigenouns Australian art.
The final community to be settled in the NPA is Seisia, another settlement of Saibai Islander people. The island people preferred to live by the sea, so as more families followed in pursuit of fresh water and land, they resettled at the site of the old Red Island Wharf. The name Seisia is made up from the first letter of each of the brothers Sagaukauz, Elu, Ibuai, Sunai, Isua and Aken, the founding brothers of the community. Seisia wharf provides the region with shipping and ferry services, as well as being a popular local fishing spot.