Galarrwuy Yunupingu (born 1948, Gumatj people), Bakulangay Marawili (1944–2002, Madarrpa people), Djambawa Marawili (born 1953, Madarrpa people), Marrirra Marawili (born c.1937, Madarrpa people), Djewiny Ngurruwuthun (born c.1940, Munyuku people), Wenten Rubuntja (c.1926–2005, Arrernte/Aranda peoples), Lindsay Jampijinpa (1951–2009, Warlpiri people), D. Williams Japanangka (1948–2013, Warlpiri people)
Barunga statement, 1988
Ochres on composition board with collage of printed text on paper
Gifts Collection, Parliament House Art Collection
Right: Galarrwuy Yunupingu (NLC chairman) and Wenten Rubuntja (CLC chairman) present the Barunga Statement to Prime Minister Bob Hawke, 1988. Photograph courtesy of Central Land Council
When Prime Minister Bob Hawke attended the annual Barunga Festival, a community cultural and sporting festival held near Katherine in the Northern Territory, Galarrwuy Yunupingu (Northern Land Council chairman) and Wenten Rubuntja (Central Land Council chairman) presented him with two bark paintings and a statement calling for Government recognition of the Indigenous owners’ rights including self-determination, land rights and respect for and promotion of Aboriginal identity, and to ‘negotiate with us a Treaty recognising our prior ownership, continued occupation and sovereignty and affirming our human rights and freedom.’
The Prime Minister responded by affirming the Government’s commitment to negotiating a treaty with Aboriginal people and hoped that negotiations could commence before the end of 1988, and an agreement on a treaty reached by the end of his Government’s term. A treaty was never reached, but importantly, the statement put Indigenous issues to the top of the agenda during the bicentenary year of European Settlement.
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