Mer (Murray Island), in the eastern group of Torres Strait Islands off the northern tip of Australia, is home to the Meriam people.
The Meriam people are perhaps best known for their involvement in the High Court of Australia's Mabo decision which fundamentally changed land law in Australia - recognising Aboriginal traditional ownership.
Although gardening takes priority, each Meriam family has sea rights, and on the reefs in front of their houses, which are mainly built above the beach, they maintain stone fish-weirs and crayfish holes. Skilled seafarers, the Meriam also retain fishing rights over reefs extending 60 km north and south of the islands.
Other articles related to "meriam people":
... Court (Mabo v Queensland (No 2), decided in 1992) which was a dispute between the Meriam people (of the Mer Islands in the Torres Strait) and the ... The Meriam people sought a demurrer to prevent the Queensland Government from relying on the Coast Islands Act in their defence to the main case ...
... Murray Island has been inhabited by the Meriam people for thousands of years prior to European exploration and settlement of Australia ... inhabitants of Torres Strait (including Murray Island, known by the Meriam people as Mer Island) and Europeans began once the Torres Strait became a ... The inhabitants of the Torres Strait, including the Meriam people, gained a reputation as fierce warriors and skilled mariners ...
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“Many politicians of our time are in the habit of laying it down as a self-evident proposition that no people ought to be free till they are fit to use their freedom. The maxim is worthy of the fool in the old story who resolved not to go into the water until he had learnt to swim. If men are to wait for liberty till they become wise and good in slavery, they may indeed wait forever.”
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