Yolŋu Nations Assembly calls for a Treaty

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Media Statement  

30th January 2014

Yolŋu Nations Assembly (Yolŋuw Makarr Dhuni)

Indigenous Treaties

Statement:

Yolŋu Nations Assembly (YNA) supports the call for treaties with Indigenous peoples.

YNA Co-Convenor, Matthew Dhulumburrk Gaykamaŋu, says:

“We want a treaty because right now we get directives just from the government side- for housing, education, skills training. This is one-sided talk that never ends in things that work.

Government needs to listen to Yolŋu thinking for Yolŋu problems.

A Treaty is good because we need a foundational agreement for the Australian government and the Yolŋu government, before anything else happens.”

YNA Spokesperson, Djiniyini Gondarra, says:

“All of Arnhem Land, we still maintain our law, maintain our language and have our land. We have not been conquered. We need our society recognised.”

On Australia day (2014) Dr. M. Yunupiŋu was awarded a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) posthumous.

Yalmay Yunupiŋu tells us about her husband Dr Yunupiŋu, the lead singer of Yothu Yindi, and his desire for a treaty:

“From the Barunga statement (1988) he wrote Treaty to reinforce that word. He wanted a Treaty because Yolŋu were not being recognised as first peoples. He wanted self management, self determination and respect as a human being. He wanted to stop the death of Yolŋu law, custom, and language, to stop the genocide of his people. He wanted mutual respect for each other.

A Treaty for Yolŋu people was a big part of my husbands mission. He wanted harmony. So for that award he received on Australia day, Companion of the Order of Australia, if Australia respects this award, they will respect this call for a Treaty. He was never angry, he was always calm, let’s work towards a Treaty likewise.”

www.makarrdhuni.org

About Richard Trudgen

Born in Orange NSW, trained as a fitter and turner. Moved to Arnhem Land in 1973 one year for voluntary work, ended up staying 37 years, learnt language and trained in community development work. Wrote “Why Warriors Lie Down and Die” in 2000. Established Yolŋu Radio in 2003. Was CEO of ARDS Inc for 10 years. Developed discovery education methodology. Runs ‘Bridging the Gap’ seminars and training workshops, does conferencing speaking. Wants to build an e-learning school for Yolŋu people using both their own language and English so Yolŋu children and adults have a schooling system that works for them; plus one they can access anywhere. Trying to write my next book “When a New World Drops in on You”.

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