11 August 2009: Yolngu Nation Federation

Edited to add 11 Aug 2136(+8): The Indigenous people of north-eastern Arnhem Land have formed a federation and declared self-government — and nobody noticed. There is almost complete radio silence in the media, blogs, twitter… everywhere. It’s rather eerie.

SMH: “Yolngu clans decide on self-government

Sixty Yolngu clans of East Arnhem Land representing at least 12,000 indigenous Australians in the Northern Territory say they will form their own government to determine the future of their people.

The clan leaders met over three days of the Garma Festival of Traditional Culture at Gulkula, on the Gove Peninsula, and emerged on Tuesday with the news. […]

[Galarrwuy Yunupingu said], “The government, from the day of raising the flag by (Captain James) Cook and the formation of the parliament of this country, and the writing of the constitution that applies and talks about indigenous Australia, has walked right past this group of people,” Mr Yunupingu said.

“This is not today’s creation. This is thousands of years old. We are revising it to revive it for the benefit and the good of the future of indigenous Australia.”

[Image source]



Categories: indigenous, Politics

Tags: , , ,

14 replies

  1. awesome!

    • Interesting that there’s very little comment or news articles available yet about this other than the one you linked. Almost like the MSM doesn’t think it’s important, or wants to downplay its significance.
      Goodonem I say, and good luck.

  2. Good on them! 😀

  3. tigtog: I was thinking the same thing. I grabbed this hot off the presses, but it’s been hours now and the other news sites and blogs are silent. I can’t even see anything at the ABC’s Message Stick or the NT News.
    Will watch the news tonight and see if anything’s said.

  4. Wow! 🙂
    I’ll have a look in the morning and see if the media have piped up a bit more.

  5. Still nothing in SMH @ 10:05 p.m.

    I really hope this goes well.

  6. This is huge. At 9pm WA time still nothing on the ABC website nor the Oz and not even on the NT News website. It’ll be interesting what treatment the morning papers give it. There is such a reluctance on the part of the MSM to cover any news about Aboriginal Australians. It’s actually scary how easy it is to miss these things. Thanks for bringing it to my attention Lauredhel.

  7. Ah, the story has _just_ hit Sky News.

  8. Holy shitsticks. I’ve been having some personal shit to deal with, so I haven’t been reading much on the blogs but … wow. Wow. This is awesome. This is amazing. Good luck to ‘em, I reckon. The silence is disheartening though.

  9. There’s an article in the Australian now, but it’s heading is Yunupingu loses faith in intervention, with the Yolngu Nation Federation mentioned only as an afterthought.

    The Arnhem Land leader’s repudiation of the federal intervention represents a dramatic about-face from his position two years ago, and comes as the Rudd government struggles to keep its $700 million project in Aboriginal housing on track.
    After initially labelling the intervention “worrying and sickening”, Mr Yunupingu in October 2007 swung behind the initiative, joining leaders such as Noel Pearson and Marcia Langton in putting his faith in the biggest overhaul of indigenous policy in decades.
    But Mr Yunupingu said yesterday that two years into the billion-dollar program, he had not seen conditions change for indigenous people on the ground and the promised reforms had been strangled by bureaucratic inertia.

    Here’s the few lines on the Yolngu parliament:

    Mr Yunupingu’s comments followed the formation of a new political force in East Arnhem Land, the home of many of Australia’s most traditional indigenous societies.
    Yolngu clan leaders from Northern Territory communities stretching from Maningrida to Nubulwar yesterday signed the constitution for the what is to be “the highest authority in Arnhem Land”, to be known as the Dilak.
    Senior Yirrkala man Djuwalpi Marika said the Dilak would operate as a “Yolngu parliament” and would be seeking direct input into the federal government’s task of closing the gap in Aboriginal disadvantage. “We are looking to get a real voice for Yolngu, a Yolngu parliament,” Mr Marika said. “We are seeking direct information from the government, not second-hand information. In the Yolngu world we have our own democracy.”

    The article ends with Jenny Macklin’s response to Yunupingu’s criticism.

  10. I’ve been trying, but I can’t find anything in the media that hasn’t already been mentioned. I’m only half shocked at that.

  11. this has me itching to be back in my Aboriginal studies course, i took the semester off but the teachers and tutors are all so awesome i would love to hear their take on the blanket ignoring of SOMETHING IMPORTANT like this. wtf!

  12. Didn’t catch it all, but I noted a group of Yolngu people in the gallery at today’s televised Question Time on ABC. Still nothing on any news program I’ve seen in the past 24 hours.

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