Juan Walker (Aboriginal name Karanba), is a Kuku Yalanji man from the Mossman/Daintree area and has been working as a tour guide in this region for fifteen years.
Juan regularly spends time with elders of the Kuku Yalanji people, hearing stories of the history, traditions, and culture, stories and information he holds dear to him, for his family and also shares as part of his tours, as he believes it is through the learning and sharing of his culture to all people, that an understanding and respect for Aboriginal beliefs is created, and this aids in the reconciliation process.
Please explain a little bit about who you are and what you do?
I am the owner/operator of Walkabout Cultural Adventures, a tour business operating in Tropical North Queensland, that offers unique tours focusing on Aboriginal culture, significant sites, environmental information and local tourist attractions. I have been guiding in the region for 15 years, having lived in this region my entire life. Walkabout Cultural Adventures offer interpersonal Aboriginal cultural based tours with small numbers on a half or full day basis.
What got you started with your passion and what do you find most interesting about it?
Previously I was employed at Daintree Eco Lodge & Spa as the Aboriginal Activities Co-ordinator, and it was there I learnt the many facets of the tourism and hospitality industry. I saw that there was no Aboriginal cultural experiences that offered half and full day tours around the region, so I decided to start my own business. I have always enjoyed spending time with elders of my people, the Kuku Yalanji people, and it is from hearing their stories of the history, traditions, and culture, that form the basis of my tours. I enjoy learning and sharing my culture with all interested people.
How do you bring Aboriginal culture to life on your tours?
Given that the information I tell on tour is relevant to actual places we visit, and my own family history, it brings itself to life.
Why do you think it’s important that people learn about Aboriginal culture?
Aboriginal culture is significant to Australia’s history. I like to think that through the learning and sharing of my culture and history, that an understanding and respect for Aboriginal beliefs is created, and this aids in the reconciliation process.
What’s your favourite Australian animal and why?
Crocodile, we call it Bilngkumu in our language. It is our totem.
What place is Australia’s best-kept secret?
The Daintree rainforest.
What haven’t you seen / done in Australia that you’d like to and why?
Sections of the Western Australian coast, I’d love to see the desert meet the ocean, and the different wildlife.
Finally, how can people follow you on social media?
Facebook – www.facebook.com/WalkaboutCulturalAdventures
Twitter – www.twitter.com/WalkaboutFNQ