An Indigenous voice – How is Yolngu law separate from the Governments Law

Here is a YouTube video, produced independently of us, that is worth watching because it contains the genuine voice of an significant Indigenous person from one the communities most effected by Government polices and approaches since the Emergency Response Intervention into Northern Territory Aboriginal Communities.  She speaks of why she sees her people’s Law and the Mainstream Law of Australia belonging to the ‘Balanda‘ (the Europeans/non-Indigenous) as separate from each other.  At the beginning of the video she points out that one of the main reasons for the separation of the two Law systems is the lack of understanding and recognition on both sides.  Much in the Balanda Law is “hidden” she says.

Most people will have found some difficulty in really understanding what she was saying about her law at a couple of points in this film because of references to footprints, names and the like.  These are references to massive concepts in the Yolngu peoples Law, some of which are foundational or constituting aspect of their law. That is they make reference to the basis by which rights and responsibilities of law originate. They do not refer literally just to ‘footprints’ or just ‘names’ in the same way that ‘The Constitution’ is not referring to just a piece of paper.

I hope you all pick up on the opinion she expresses that the Balanda Law, Australian Mainstream Law, is being used against Yolngu – to trap them in the inconsistencies of the law.  And she thinks that Balanda (non-Indigenous people) do not even realise they are doing this. But, perhaps she is being polite.

The video message is targeted at ‘Government’ so it would be appreciated if this was passed on to anyone who  is a member of parliament or anyone you know that works for a Government department.

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