Homelands and their future: A perspective from Bäniyala

Homelands and their future

This event was held Thursday, 24 October 2019, 5.00pm – 6.30pm at Northern Institute. Over 50 people attended. 

Photographs of the event can be viewed HERE 

VIEW the ABC News report about the Homelands and their future 


Djambawa Marawili AM, Madarrpa Clan leader from Bäniyala Homeland in Blue Mud Bay, East Arnhem Land is inviting a fresh conversation about homelands, their importance for traditional First Nations people and for Australia as a whole; and about what is needed for their future.

Mr Marawili and other leaders of the Djalkiripuyngu ('footprint people' from the homelands of Blue Mud Bay) have outlined their vision for homelands in the Blue Mud Bay (Djalkiripuyngu) Development Strategy and Homelands Statement.

Their message that 'homelands are places of strength and opportunity' is recognised by the NT Government which committed in 2018, at the 10th Anniversary of Sea Rights, to a Local Decision Making Agreement by 2020 to enhance local education, employment and economic development, infrastructure and housing, community safety, health and cultural outcomes.

The Djalkiripuyngu have also sought delegation of powers under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act to locally issue leases over their country, first in recognition of their ownership, and second to enable local housing and business opportunities. This work, outlined in their landmark Nimbarrki Submission, was accepted by the Chairman of the Northern Land Council in 2018 and is pending decision by the Full Council before the end of 2019.

The Djalkiripuyngu are working with several organisations to develop fishing and tourism businesses on their land and sea country. They are leading this work in partnership with the CSIRO to encourage business growth and investment and local employment in the Blue Mud Bay homelands region.

As Chairman of the Aboriginal art peak body Arnhem Northern and Kimberley Artists Aboriginal Corporation (ANKA), Mr Marawili is calling for a Federal House of Representatives Inquiry into the homelands. The last in-depth national evaluation of homelands was over 30 years ago: the 1986-87 House of Representatives Inquiry Return to Country - The Aboriginal Homelands Movement in Australia.

Mr Marawili says:
‘In our homelands living on our ancestral Country, we are culturally rich with our inherited language, song, dance, patterns, stories and knowledge of the details of country, animals, seasons, weather patterns and the natural work. We are also materially poor, and our people have levels of serious illness, which are completely unacceptable in a rich country like Australia.

To continue the important work of looking after Australia’s first high culture, we need more respect and understanding. We need wider Australia to properly understand that in the homelands, in our communities on Country, we are caring for the oldest living culture on earth; and we are the only people qualified to look after this global inheritance. These are not just words about a distant imagined past; this is reality. We need support for our self-determination to care for the seeds of a shared future for all Australians.’*

‘We invite you to walk with us’ 
*ANKA Arts Backbone Vol 17: Issue 2 & Vol. 18: Issue 1, August 2018
The August 2019 ANKA Arts Backbone magazine is a special Homelands Edition highlighting the integral relationship between art and the homelands movement. 


Djambawa Marawili AM


Biography - Djambawa Marawili AM

As well as being the Chair of Arnhem, Northern and Kimberley Artists (ANKA) since 1998, Djambawa Marawili AM (b.1953) has held numerous other positions, including Chairperson of Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Centre, Chairperson of Laynhapuy Homelands, Member of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Board of the Australia Council and Member of the Northern Land Council board. From 2014 – 2019 Djambawa has sat on the Prime Ministers Indigenous Advisory Council. As ceremonial leader of the Madarrpa clan of North East Arnhem Land, Djambawa uses his art to communicate his wider socio-political aims - drawing on the strong foundations of Yolngu culture to educate, inspire and seek justice for his people. Full BIO

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This event is proudly hosted by Northern Institute in collaboration with the Arnhem, Northern and Kimberley Artists Aboriginal Corporation (ANKA)

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