Over the course of the past three years the Yothu Yindi Foundation has drawn from the wealth of North East Arnhem Land’s unique individuals that are achieving some solid outcomes. The Yolngu Heroes that have been nominated through Yothu Yindi Foundation are leading by putting their best foot forward, or showing integrity through their persistent determination to achieve positive results on the ground within their community.
Yolgnu Hero 2016
Mr Barayuwa Mununggurr is a highly respected leader of the Djapu clan. Barayuwa is softly spoken, with cultural and family ties that extend throughout the North East Arnhem region. His totem is mana (shark) and his homeland is Bukudal. Barayuwa is the Chairman of Miwatj Employment and Participation, a Director of Laynhapuy Homelands and a North East Arnhem Council member. Barayuwa’s vision is for a united community, safe, strong and active - he is a passionate and determined advocate for homeland living and is a brilliant artist whose artwork is prized around the world. Most of all he is a proud Yolngu man who displays the very best of Yolngu values and qualities. Barayuwa has served his people all of his life and he is as busy today as he was 50 years ago. Barayuwa Mununggurr is a champion of the Yolngu people and is our official 2016 Garma Yolngu Hero.
Yananymul has been nominated a Yolngu Hero at Garma this year due to her ongoing devotion to the homelands and outstations. A Djapu woman, Yananymul is a Board member of Laynhapuy Homelands and she has been an outspoken advocate for improved education in this region in particular. Yananymul has over many years served on many boards, many committees and many councils as her advice on community development related projects has been vital to the betterment of north east Arnhem Land. Yananymul’s contribution doesn’t merely extend to the homelands – her advice sweeps across health, family wellbeing, cultural maintenance, employment and safe communities in general. She has on many occasions spoken of the important connection that land has to Yolngu culture. Ms Mununggurr has shown formidable courage throughout her professional career and will be making a profound contribution for many years to come. Thank you Yananymul, you have been an inspiration to us all.
Those who know Binmila know her as “A strong role model for all”. Binmila is a proud Gumatj woman with a generous personality. She has assumed great responsibility in the last 5 years through her role as a Director of the Gumatj Corporation and has taken on increased responsibility within the Yolngu world. The eldest daughter of Galarrwuy Yunupingu she has inherited her father’s ability to think thorugh difficult issues - she has also inherited her family’s passion for their beloved Gopu football team where Binmila can be found each Saturday during the local football season. During the difficult period when the Gove township experienced the loss of up to 1500 residents Binmila stepped voluntarily in to a “cultural liaison” role where she acted as a buffer between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous residents of the region. In her quiet manner she provided solutions that achieve positive outcomes for all parties. In times of trouble or sadness Binmila is the first person to call and offer her support. She is a loving wife, mother, sister and friend - a true Yolngu hero.
Gutjapin is a Dhalwangu man who has been a strong contributor to North East Arnhem Land and its people for many years. In July 2013 Gutjapin commenced with Miwatj Employment & Participation (MEP) as a Team Leader and is now Regional Coordinator based in Gapuwiyak. Gutjapins vast knowledge of the Miwatj region, networks and experience in the employment industry, and his strong work ethics have been invaluable to MEP. Gutjapin is now managing a team of 15, overseeing federal government programs with a caseload of 300. This is a challenging role and in taking it on Gutjapin has stepped well outside his comfort zone - one of the hallmarks of leadership. A soft spoken, patient, unassuming Yolngu man, he is a resilient and strong figure respected by all. He is a devoted family man, role model and leader that is successfully balancing the Yolngu and Balanda worlds in the workplace and in his community of Gapuwiyak. A well deserving Yolngu hero.
These profiles were originally published by the Yothu Yindi Foundation