Many books and papers have been written about the Yolngu of Arnhem Land. This one is very different. It is written out of the pain experienced by living with the suffering that is everyday life for Yolngu. But Wamut has not stopped there. Out of this pain has grown something very valuable in the form of new understandings and a new way for Yolngu to learn about the foreign Balanda world.
I wanted Wamut to speak to Balanda about the real situation that we face in our lives every day, a reality that is hard for people of another culture to imagine. I wanted him to show Balanda the important role they have in helping Yolngu break through the confusion we have in front of us. In doing it, Wamut has used many stories told by the people over the years. He has used health and education as main themes to talk about how the communication breaks down, and why government programs fail. He then brought together what others have found across the world to show this is not really a Yolngu or Aboriginal problem, but a problem that exists when cultures and languages collide. Then he shares some insight about the way forward.
So I invite you to read this book. In that way we can walk together for a while and discover a more common path to solve the problems we face.
Rev. Dr. Djiniyini Gondarra OAM
Political leader of the Golumala clan
Executive Officer of Aboriginal Resource and Development Services Inc.
Member of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation.