Garma Festival in Australia ( 3 TO 6 AUGUST)

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From the humble beginnings of a back yard barbeque, the
Yothu Yindi Foundation is pleased to direct, host and stage
our 20th birthday from Gulkula, the Gumatj clan’s significant
ceremonial grounds.

Gulkula has been an active participant for
the development of Indigenous Affairs policy over the course
of the past two decades.


In the year 2018, we will recall friends
of our past, acknowledge the outcomes we’ve been fortunate
to provide back to the community, and celebrate the wins and
milestones that have been gained.

About Garma

In its 19th year, Garma has become Australia’s Indigenous equivalent of the World Economic Forum held annually at Davos in Switzerland. Hosted, coordinated and programed in entirety by the Yothu Yindi Foundation (YYF), Garma attracts an exclusive gathering of 2,500 political and business leaders from across the globe. YYF is committed to improving the state of Indigenous disadvantage by engaging business, political, academic, and other leaders of society to shape global, regional, and industry agendas.

The Garma gathering brings together business leaders, international political leaders, intellectuals, academics and journalists to discuss the most pressing issues facing Australia.

Garma is the platform for Australia’s own Davos because, whereas at other Aboriginal conferences you will learn about Indigenous rights and culture, at Garma you will learn about the economic challenges, the steps that need to be taken to ensure that there are economic opportunities for Aboriginal people, and at the same time, Garma attempts to strengthen our cultural genius through the preservation and maintenance of a culture 50,000+ years old. 

The ancient sound of the Yidaki (didjeridoo) is a call to all people to come together in unity; to gather for the sharing of knowledge and culture; to learn from and listen to one another. Annually the Yidaki (didjeridoo) announces the start of Garma, the largest and most vibrant annual celebration of Yolngu (Aboriginal people of north east Arnhem Land) culture.

Garma incorporates visual art, ancient storytelling, dance – including the famous nightly bunggul – and music, as well as other important forums and education and training programs relevant to cultural tourism, craft, governance and youth leadership.

It aims:

  • To provide contemporary environments and programs for the practice, preservation, maintenance and presentation of traditional knowledge systems and cultural traditions and practices, especially bunggul (traditional dance), Manikay (song), Miny' tji (art) and ceremony.
  • To share knowledge and culture, thereby fostering greater understanding between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
  • To develop economic opportunities for Yolngu through education, training, employment, enterprise and remote Indigenous community development.

Garma is presented by the Yothu Yindi Foundation, a not-for-profit Aboriginal corporation with tax deductibility gift recipient status.

All Garma registrations and revenues are directed into projects to support the Foundation and the Arnhem region.


Truth-telling will be the major theme when Indigenous, corporate, government and community leaders meet at the Garma Key Forum this weekend. 

Sponsored this year by the University of Melbourne, the Key Forum has become the number one national platform for the discussion and debate of issues affecting Indigenous Australians. 

Yothu Yindi Foundation CEO Denise Bowden said the truth-telling theme was a continuation of last year’s focus on Makarrata, a Yolngu word which describes the settling of differences between two parties and a coming together. 

“The telling of truth is essential in paving a way forward that can bring the nation together and open up the possibility of a truly substantial settlement,” she said. 

“These conversations can be confronting to hear and challenging to conduct, but we will continue to search for answers to the difficult questions we face.” 

Constitutional recognition, the Uluru Statement from the Heart, economic development, health, and Commonwealth-Territory spending on Indigenous disadvantage are some of the issues to be discussed at this year’s Key Forum. 

University of Melbourne Vice Chancellor Glyn Davis said the University was proud to be the principal sponsor of Garma and its Key Forum. 

“Through Garma and the Key Forum we can engage with Indigenous, government, corporate and community leaders, on country with Yolngu, to explore opportunities for the University to contribute to the advancement of Yolngu and Indigenous Australians,” he said. 

“We want our academic contributions to help achieve the Yothu Yindi Foundation vision for Yolngu and other Indigenous Australians to have the same level of wellbeing and life opportunities as non-Indigenous Australians.” 

Garma begins this Friday, 3 August, and concludes on Monday, 6 August. 

This year is the 20th anniversary of the event, which is held at a significant Gumatj ceremonial site in northeast Arnhem Land. 

About 2500 people are expected to attend this year.


Find here the official program

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