Garma festival: Indigenous sovereignty would be a ‘gift for all Australians’

The annual Garma festival in northeast Arnhem Land opened for the 20th year on Friday with attendees told that Indigenous sovereignty would be a “gift for all the Australian people”.

At a ceremonial welcome at the Gulkula grounds on Gumatj country, senior Gumatj ceremony man, Djunga Djunga Yunupingu, said a year ago they had been speaking with hope about the Uluru statement and its three proposals for constitutional reform.

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Top End Hosts 12th Year of Prestigious Aboriginal Art Fair

Next week, art lovers from all over Australia (and the world) will gather in the Top End as Darwin hosts the 12th year of the prestigious Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair (DAAF) and is transformed into an internationally recognised epicentre of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) culture, art, fashion, music and food.

The only national event of its kind, DAAF generated a record $2.23 million in 2017 and a total of $8.83 million over the past five years and has secured a reputation as one of the country’s most significant and internationally recognised arts events

It’s set to be the largest one ever as, showcasing the work of more than 2000 Indigenous artists from across Australia with 100 per cent of revenue going back to remote communities.

It is an exciting week for Arnhem Land as 6 centres will be representing the region and showing off its own work at DAAF:
Bula’bula Arts (Ramingining)
Buku-Larrnggay Mulka (Yirrkala)
Gapuwiyak Culture and Arts (East Arnhem Land)
Injalak Arts (Galbanyala)
Ngukurr Arts Aboriginal Corporation (Ngukurr)
Milingimbi Art and Culture (East Arnhem Land)

 

Darwin will again be transformed into an internationally recognised epicentre of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) culture, art, fashion, music and food, as the Top End hosts the 12th Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair (DAAF) this August.

Created 12 years ago, DAAF has cemented itself as a platform to ethically promote the artwork of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Centres and communicate the important economic role they play in generating revenue for remote communities. It has also become a wider platform to discuss modern Indigenous culture, issues and ideas.

Growing annually and with almost 10,700 attendees in 2017, the 2018 DAAF will feature a selection of prestigious cultural events and activities, kicking off with the popular From Country to Couture fashion show on 8 August.

DAAF will showcase the work of more than 2000 Indigenous artists from across Australia, with 100 per cent of revenue going back to remote communities.

The only national event of its kind, DAAF generated a record $2.23 million in 2017 and a total of $8.83 million over the past five years and has secured a reputation as one of the country’s most significant and internationally recognised arts events.

Executive Director of DAAFF, Claire Summers, said she expected the New York Times’ recent recognition of the Top End as one of the “Top 52 Places to Go in 2018” would bolster already growing international visitor numbers this year.

“It was humbling to see DAAF named as one of the key reasons to visit the Top End, and fantastic to see our region receive such positive international endorsement,” she said. “We’ve been steadily building our international curator visitor numbers in recent years, and expect this to increase following the New York Times’ recognition.”

Each year DAAF showcases a spectacular diversity of artwork and provides visitors with a genuine opportunity to meet Indigenous artists, performers, and arts workers who have travelled to Darwin from some of the most remote regions of Australia.

This year’s calendar includes cultural performances, workshops and demonstrations, kids activity stations and the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation (DAAFF) panel discussion.

“DAAF provides a genuine opportunity for arts industry buyers and art and design aficionados to purchase art directly from Indigenous owned and incorporated Art Centres from right across Australia,” Ms Summers said.

“We have visitors come from all over the world for the opportunity to purchase stunning art and experience the rich diversity of artwork that has been inspired by Australia’s most remote desert and coastal regions, to rural and urban communities.”

DAAF offers a range of styles, mediums and products including paintings on canvas, bark paintings, works on paper including limited edition prints, sculpture, didgeridoos, fibre art and cultural regalia.

DAAF is held annually in August, and is proud to sit under the umbrella of the Darwin Festival. DAAF is owned and operated by a membership of ATSI Art Centres and its mission is to encourage the production of Aboriginal arts and assist with the promotion in an ethical business environment. DAAFF is committed to professional development opportunities for artists and Art Workers, and to continually contribute to the cultural aspirations of the Art Centres.

DAAF was originally conceived and designed to complement the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards (NATSIAA). It also celebrates the National Indigenous Music Awards and the Garma Festival which are held over the same week. Together, these prestigious events mark the most significant national festival of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts in the world. DAAF is also proudly supported as an umbrella event of the Darwin Festival.
For further information, visit www.daaf.com.au .

For more information, please contact Bastion Effect: Emma Jarrett 0438 336 408 emmaj@bastioneffect.com Lucas Forato 0421 987 117 lucas@bastioneffect.com

 

 

Leaders’ pace on reform ‘too slow’

Senior indigenous leader Galarrwuy Yunupingu has admonished Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten for the slow pace of indigenous constitutional recognition, almost a year after he believed both men were going to make the issue a ­priority in the parliament.

Penning a heartfelt chairman’s essay for his Yothu Yindi Foundation’s annual Garma Festival in August, Mr Yunupingu, a leader of Northeast Arnhem Land’s Yolngu people, expresses disappointment that the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader have not translated their forceful words at last year’s event into adequate ­action.

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Nhulunbuy space project naysayers will deter investors to Arnhem land, Indigenous group warns

Negative commentary about plans for Australia’s first commercial space centre could dissuade other prospective investors to the East Arnhem land region, a local Indigenous group has warned.

Independent Member for Nhulunbuy Yingiya Mark Guyula criticised the NT Government for pushing the project, claiming “people out there [around Nhulunbuy] are not interested”.

“There’s enough trouble in the homelands out there already without this industry coming in that’s providing big dollar signs to the rest of the world … to Australia.”

Now Gumatj Aboriginal Corporation’s Klaus Helms has warned other investors from various industries are likely to be watching.

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Mr Guyula to Minister for Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics

I noticed that Air North have announced some new route they will be flying from Darwin to Alice Springs. This is very good. I also noticed that this has been supported and subsidised by the government. Last year I appealed to the Chief Minister to support remote communities in accessing cheaper travel. Can you tell me what the government are doing to support and subsidise the existing air routes to remote communities Galiwinku, Maningrida, Milingimbi, Ramingining, Gapuwiyak and other communities.

ANSWER

It is important that people from communities have access to air services out there. We do know that particularly in the north of the Northern Territory it does present some real challenges when the wet season and the monsoon kick in, and with access to certain communities. Because we still have the issue with roads and trying to get as much sealed as possible to communities more accessible year round.

There is going to be a body of work happening at a federal level looking at the subject of regional air services, which of course will look at places like remote communities and level of services that do go out there.

That is going to be a very important body of work and I would urge you to make a submission—but I am sure you have already done that—with regards to how airline services can service Territorians better going out there across the Northern Territory.

We did invest in extending the centre run, which is the run that goes from Darwin, Katherine, Tennant Creek, Alice Springs and back, because that is something we need as well. It is an important service and that is one thing that I will thank the previous government for where they got that trial up and running. And we have continued that as well, to see if we can see some commercial operation happening there. Because it is an important service.

But what is so fantastic about this dry season is that that is going to extend from three days a week to five. That is going to test some of those commercial opportunities there, about making it a more viable and sustainable route for Territorians to travel on in getting up and down the track.

Looking at regional transport, it is an important area to look at those accessibility issues. Getting out to community. I know it is a tough cost of living pressure if people have only air transport to use. It is something I would be keen to discuss with you further Member for Nhulunbuy and happy to have a bit of a conversation so I can understand the needs of your constituents a bit better.

In the meantime we have managed to make sure that we invest in airstrips as well because that is very important infrastructure. I know Milingimbi, that has been an issue there and we have put significant funds into it through the budge to look at the widening and the issues there with the airstrip.

We would be more than happy to sit down with you, Member for Nhulunbuy, to understand some of those transport and accessibility issues. But again, I think it is going to be a really important body of work that we see through those questions that the senate committee look at with regards to remote and regional air services. And looking forward to seeing what comes out of that and where there are more gaps that need to be filled in ways in which we can ensure that there is more sustainable and cost-effective airfares for people who live out bush.

Memorial for historic ship Pat Cam sunk by Japanese sea plane

On January 22, 1943, the Pat Cam set off for Elcho Island with 19 crew, a Methodist pastor and five aboriginal passengers on board.

About noon a Japanese sea plane cut its engine and dived to about 30m, dropping a bomb which tore through the ship’s hold.

The sea plane returned several times, strafing the survivors who clung to debris and a life raft, before landing nearby and capturing the pastor Reverend Leonard Kentish, who was later beheaded.

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Yesterday marked the 75th anniversary of the vessel’s bombing and the loss of nine lives.

Around 100 people including Navy members based at HMAS Coonawarra Naval Base attended the service in Darwin. HMAS Patricia Cam was travelling from Elcho Island in North East Arnhem Land to Yirrkala via Cape Wessel on a mission to drop four Yolngu men back to Yirrkala with code books.

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djalu

‘Didgeridoo is his voice’: how Djalu Gurruwiwi embodies the sound of a continent

The Indigenous elder revered by some as ‘Australia’s Dalai Lama’ is the spiritual keeper of the didgeridoo. A new exhibition honours his legacy and the immense significance of the Yolngu instrument that is helping to heal a divided country.

He is Djalu Gurruwiwi: a Yolngu elder and lawman from north-east Arnhem Land, a songster, healer, virtuoso and master craftsman of the yidaki (didgeridoo), as well as the instrument’s spiritual keeper. From up here he surveys his Australian Rules team, smiles and nods in approval as his players go through their pre-season paces, calling for the ball and kicking and marking, on this humid morning.

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gulkula-mine

The Yolngu: Mining their own business

IN 1963 the Yolngu people of Northeast Arnhem Land sent their bark petitions to the Federal Government, protesting the Commonwealth’s granting of mining rights to the North Australian Bauxite and Aluminium Company.

In a struggle that’s lasted more than five decades, Yunupingu’s argument has never been that mining should not be allowed on Aboriginal land. Rather, he’s argued that the industry should be conducted on the traditional owners’ terms as a means for creating economic opportunity and escaping the welfare trap.

“This bauxite we are mining is ours,” he said.

“We used to own it before the land was taken away by the Commonwealth. We still own the land and the bauxite.

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Petition for Affordable & Reliable Air Service for Gove

Introduction

Living in a remote Australian community, residents put up with a great deal of inconvenience and expense. In Gove, we generally agree that this is the price of living in paradise. To say that traveling by air to visit family members is costly is an understatement, to say the least. The prohibitive cost of using Airnorth’s service is having an impact on separated families. One shudders to think how this could be affecting the long-term economic prosperity of the East Arnhem region.

A reliable and affordable air service for Gove is essential for the development and sustainability of the entire region.

Where Is Gove?

Gove (also known as Nhulunbuy), is located in the Top End of the Northern Territory and is remote by any standards. The only road out of town is the 663 km, Central Arnhem Road which is unsealed and impassable, even with a four-wheel drive, for months at a time each year during the wet season.

Therefore, we are reliant upon affordable and reliable air transport!

Job Losses

On 29 November 2013 Rio Tinto announced the closure of the alumina refinery (but not the bauxite mine) by July 2014 with the loss of 1,100 jobs, or almost 25% of the town’s population. The refinery ceased production in May 2014. The closure led Qantas to suspend flights on the route in August 2014, thus giving Airnorth a monopoly on the route.

Gove is fighting for survival!

Insult to Injury

Airnorth tickets between Gove and Darwin can be in excess of $800 for a one-hour flight! If you had booked a one-way flight on Air North’s website on 14 December 2017 to travel from Cairns to Gove on the 27 Jan 2018, you would pay $319.00, however the person sitting next to you, travelling all the way to Darwin would only have paid $236.40 for the entire trip.

We pay 35% more than the person sitting next to us to fly a shorter distance.

Blacklisting

Former Airnorth CEO Michael Bridge said he was aware of passengers who simply got off at the flight’s stopover in Gove, to save money and threatened to ban them from flying Airnorth.

That’s a potent threat to a Gove Local!

Quality of Service

Lines of communication to Airnorth ‘customer service’ remain largely unanswered. A litany of delayed and cancelled and flights with little or no warning has made Airnorth the local in-joke and byword for unreliability.

However, we all know that the joke’s on us!

Senate Inquiry

The Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee will report by 30 March 2018 on their inquiry on operation, regulation and funding of air route service delivery to rural, regional and remote communities. Submissions should be received by 5 February 2018. Please read more about the inquiry on Gove Online community news:

http://www.goveonline.com.au/funding-air-route-service-delivery-rural-regional-remote-communities/

What We Need From the Senate

We the undersigned, being current and former, Gove residents, request Senator Malarndirri McCarthy, Senator for the Northern Territory, present this petition to the inquiry and tell them that:

“GOVE RESIDENTS EXPECT A FAIR DEAL. WE NEED TO BE ABLE TO SEE OUR FAMILIES, NOT ONLY FOR CHRISTMAS BUT ALL YEAR ROUND!”

Please sign our petition and leave comments below.

Sign Petition

 

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Christmas Newsletter

Nhamirr Bukmak?

It’s almost the end of the year, and there are few important things going on in the lead up to Christmas.

Firstly, I’d like to clarify my position in relation to the Space Base/ Rocket Launch facility. My main concern is not about the project itself. I’m not against this project, although I do have concerns that jobs for Yolŋu people will not be sustained and that key jobs will be held by outsiders. However, the main issue is that many clan leaders in East Arnhem Land have not been included in the decision making process. Yolŋu communities were concerned after hearing an initial briefing about where rockets may fly, fall, land, be retrieved. People are still feeling worried and confused about the project and the leaders have not been properly consulted. My job is to listen to everyone and voice concern of the people, particularly the people that aren’t being heard.

The NT Land Rights Act made provision that decisions should be made based on traditional law. In Yolŋu law, decision making process must involve multiple clans and includes the Yothu-Yindi, Märi-Guthurra, Waku-Yapa clans. Many clans are involved in a decision making process through rringitj alliances. This is how we maintain harmony and interconnection, and this runs through Ŋarra, Garma and any official business. This is Yolŋu Law, it is how we maintain Law and respect authority.

The current system employed by the NLC leaves many Yolŋu disempowered on their own land. As part of moving towards solid business enterprise for the region I want the issues of land ownership to be resolved, and proper consultation processes employed, so that there is a strong foundation for business and the region can prosper.

Another area of concern, I have been informed by the Department of Education that all Indigenous schools in the region will be losing funding in 2018. Schools need to be funded for all the students in the community, so that the hard-working Yolŋu and Balanda teachers can create relevant programs that engage all the children in the school. I know that teachers, school councils and school leadership are working hard, and losing funding just makes their jobs harder. Some of these schools have lost funding every year for the past decade. This is disappointing for the schools and the communities and I will continue to advocate for a better system for all.

On a happier note, I have been honoured to sponsor awards for many schools in the Electorate and I wish to congratulate all those students that have tried their best during 2017. I also congratulate the teachers and communities who support all the students of the region. Congratulations also to all the students graduating at every level of study. A great achievement.

It is with sadness that I want to remind people about the dangers of alcohol and drug use. Just a kind reminder with Christmas around the corner and my main message is for our beautiful teenage young people who might be celebrating. You might want to celebrate your graduation by getting drunk on alcohol and or getting high on drugs. Just remember that is not a wise decision to make, and it’s not necessary, and is not compulsory to life. It can and it has led people into addiction and dangerous situations. So stay safe and use your intelligence for something useful and preserve your cultural knowledge systems to show your children and the future generation that life is worth living.

Also in relation to health, I have been in contact with the CEO of FCD Health Limited and they advise the town of Nhulunbuy that they have secured a regular ongoing service with a long-term Territory doctor, Dr Gerry Goodhand who is based at Endeavour Health Service from Wednesday to Friday each week, with evening appointments. The practice has also secured a full-time registrar who will work at Endeavour Health service full-time from January 2018. This will be a great outcome for Nhulunbuy to have two doctors working each week in January. I wish to thank all the Doctors, Nurses and health professionals who are working hard across the communities to look after us and our families. And thank you to all the carers of family at home too.

I know that many people across the electorate are unhappy about the Airnorth Service. I have been in contact with Airnorth about these concerns from the electorate earlier in the year but I intend to follow up with the CEO again, and advocate for better service and prices. In April this year I lobbied the Chief Minister to consider remote travel subsidies. His response was not in favour of subsidies. His response outlined that the Government is working with the East Arnhem Regional Economic Development Committee and local stakeholders, to develop and implement a range of regional air, road and sea transport and freight services. Please contact his office directly about this process. I am also aware that there is a Senate Committee Inquiry announced in November into Regional Airline Services. The committee has announced they will hold a consultation in Darwin, and I have invited them to come to Arnhem Land to consult with communities here. Anyone can make a submission and they are open now: https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Rural_and_Regional_Affairs_and_Transport/RegionalAirRouten

In November, I met with some people of the Uluru Statement of the Heart and they continue to work towards Treaty. There is momentum as the nation continues to move towards Treaties. Also in November I attended the Annual Report Hearings at Parliament. This is a good opportunity to question Ministers and Departments. I have a MLA facebook page where I detail these questions and other information. Please send a friend request if you want to see more; Yingiya Guyula MLA.

Thank you to everyone who has supported my office this year. With 5 towns, many homelands and 12 weeks at Parliament, I do not get to spend long in one place. I appreciate the time people have made to meet with me and as I have always said I will try to represent the needs of the people in this electorate fairly, both Yolŋu and Balanda.

I’d like to wish everyone a very happy and safe Christmas and New Year.

Thanks to all those many people who have dropped into the office, called or emailed me with your concerns. I really appreciate hearing from you. Please don’t hesitate to contact the Electorate Office if there’s anything we can possibly help you with. Djutjtjutj.

Contact Information
MLA Office is located upstairs Arnhem House, Endeavour Square, Nhulunbuy Town
Ph: 8987 0125 Email: Electorate.Nhulunbuy@nt.gov.au