The Gumatj leader has told the Garma Festival in northeast Arnhem he wants federal MPs to lead Australians toward a referendum on creating an Indigenous voice in parliament by next month.
The former Australian of the year recipient helped his father draft the famous Bark Petition of 1963. Yunupingu was the court interpreter for the unsuccessful Gove Land Rights Case. He was elected chairman of the Northern Land Council in 1977 and played a key role in negotiations surrounding the Ranger Uranium Mine.
Momentum is building for a nationwide Makarrata - a Yolngu concept for coming together after a struggle - but other prominent Aboriginal figures are less optimistic on how soon constitutional change will come.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten gave Labor's unequivocal support for an Indigenous advisory body to the parliament but Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull remains non-committal.