1. Australia’s Indigenous people have the oldest living cultural history in the world.
2. This weekend, thousands of people from around Australia gathered at Gulkula in the Northern Territory’s Arnhem Land for the Garma 2014 Festival.
3. Each day dancers remind festival-goers of the “balance and cultural power of Aboriginal knowledge systems and learnings.”
4. Indigenous Australian culture goes back at least 50,000 years and possibly up to 65,000 years.
5. Senior Gumatj elder Djunga Djunga Yunupingu presided over festivities.
6. The festival combines cultural displays and dancing with debate about Indigenous policy.
7. Witiyana Marikam, from the Yothu Yindi Foundation, which runs the festival, told the ABC it was important that Yolngu shared their culture with the rest of the world.
“To recognise that we are the people who still got our culture and dignity to present,” he said.
8. “To recognise that we are the people who still got our culture and dignity to present,” said Marikam.
9. Festival director Denise Bowden called for Australia’s political and cultural leaders to work together to eradicate Indigenous disadvantage.
10. “I think we all need to be unified, if we are all supposed to be closing these gaps,” she told the ABC. “If it is education, jobs or training, we are up for a bit of a challenge.”
11. The Yothu Yindi Foundation describe the festival as “Australia’s most significant Indigenous event, and a model for self-determination, reconciliation, Indigenous knowledge sharing, transfer and exchange”.
13. This year’s festival also marked the opening of the new GARMA institute Knowledge Centre at Gulkala: outside the facility, local youths have been sharing their future goals.
14. Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion, Garma Ambassador Jack Thompson and former Prime Minister Bob Hawke are just a few of the illustrious guests at the Garma 2014 Key Forum at Gulkula.
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