• A Yolngu boy at Garma Festival in north-east Arnhem Land, NT (AAP)Source: AAP
The 2015 Garma Festival opened Friday with the didjeridu to call the Yolngu people of Arnhem Land to come together to share knowledge and culture for better lives.
Andrea Booth

31 Jul 2015 - 6:14 PM  UPDATED 1 Aug 2015 - 10:39 AM

The 2015 Garma Festival opened with the yidaki (didjeridu) at the Gulkula site outside of Nhulunbuy in Central Arnhem Land in the effort to shape a better world and strengthen the culture of Yolngu peoples of Arnhem Land in Northern Territory on Friday.

The annual event, which engages economic, political, academic and other leaders of society towards self-determination and economic opportunities, such as enterprise and remote Indigenous community development, will continue until Monday 3 August. 

The 2015 Garma Festival opened with the didjeridu at the Gulkula site outside of Nhulunbuy in Central Arnhem Land in the effort to shape a better world and strengthen the culture of Yolngu peoples 

While the event is for Yolngu people, around 2,000 guests travel to remote Arnhemland to join in cross learning from governance to youth leadership, and celebrate Indigenous cultures through a cacophony of ancient storytelling, dance (bunggul) and song (manikay).

Garma: Dancers paint themselves in solidarity with Adam Goodes
Magnificent pictures have emerged from the Garma Festival in Central Arnhem Land, as traditional dancers paint themselves in red and white and cover their backs with the number 37 as a show of solidarity for the Sydney Swans' Adam Goodes.

Garma also prides itself on reconciling the divide between Indigenous and non-Indignous Australians through sharing knowledge between both groups.

In May, mental health organisation beyondblue released results from an independent evaluation commissioned as part of the organisation’s ‘The Invisible Discriminator’ campaign that found about 21 percent of respondents believed casual racism against Indigenous Australians was acceptable.

Indigenous people experience a greater level of disadvantage compared to their non-Indigenous counterparts.

The Federal Government's 2015 Close the Gap report showed that many of its targets to reduce Indigenous disadvantage were not met. 

There was no progress on the closing the life expectancy gap by 2031 had been made between 2006 and 2013

The initiative did not achieve 95 per cent 4-year-old enrolment in early childhood education in remote communities by 2013. 

There was no overall improvement in halving the gap in child reading, writing and numeracy by 2018. About 70 per cent of Indigenous students achieved Year 5 national minimum standards.

Significant declines in some states across some year levels. Northern Territory has the lowest proportion of children achieving minimum standards.

There was no progress in halving the gap in employment outcomes by 2018 with the proportion of Indigenous people employed falling from 53.8 percent in 2008 to 47.5 percent between 2012-13.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott acknowledged this failure. "This seventh Closing the Gap report is, in many respects, profoundly disappointing," he said in a public statement in March. 

"Despite the concerted efforts of successive governments since the first report, we are not on track to achieve most of the targets."

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

-with AAP