• (L-R) Marni, Wesley Enoch on Living Black and The Sapphires (Various/Supplied)Source: Various/Supplied
Every night this week, NITV is showcasing rich Indigenous stories in the lead up to January 26, including special network coverage from Sunset to Sunrise. Join the conversation online: #AlwaysWasAlwaysWillBe
NITV Staff Writer

17 Jan 2020 - 4:31 PM  UPDATED 24 Jan 2020 - 11:12 AM

Who Do You Think You Are – Casey Donovan

Sunday, 7.30pm 

Having grown up without her Aboriginal father, singer Casey Donovan is on a mission to explore her roots. Casey goes back to Country to uncover her paternal Indigenous ancestors, including her charismatic great-grandmother ‘Granny Flo’.

On her mother’s side, Casey searches for resilient characters and discovers her courageous great-grandmother who arrived in Australia as a 14-year-old Irish orphan.



Sunday, 8.30pm

Blind from birth, Yolngu artist Dr G. found purpose and meaning through songs and music inspired by his community and country on Elcho Island in North East Arnhem Land.

Celebrated by audiences at home and internationally, Dr G. Yunupingu was one of the most important and acclaimed voices to ever come out of Australia. Living a traditional Yolngu life, his breakthrough album ‘Gurrumul’ brought him to a crossroads as audiences and artists around the world began to embrace his music.

Gurrumul is a portrait of an artist on the brink of global reverence, and the struggles he and those closest to him faced in balancing what mattered most to him and keeping the show on the road.



Sunday 10.20pm

NITV premieres a stunning, cinematic feature that explores the universal nature of ‘Night’ and how we experience it. It captures the mystery, mood and magic of the night and weaves these images into a lush and dramatic symphonic score.

Voices from all walks of life tell stories of their ‘affair’ with the night — the pleasure and the pain, reality and fantasy, at work and leisure, past and present — cutting across the aural and visual landscape.


Living Black – Wesley Enoch

Monday, 8:30pm

Prolific NITV journalist Karla Grant sits down with playwright and Sydney Festival Creative Director, Wesley Enoch who talks about his life, inspirations and what the 250th anniversary of James Cooks landing means for our shared culture.

In 2020, NITV’s Karla Grant presents the season premiere of Living Black, Australia’s leading Indigenous current affairs show, featuring inspiring and influential people from home and overseas. Living Black delves into issues affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and brings personal insight to extraordinary Australian stories.



Remaking the Pathway

Monday, 9.30pm

Remaking the Pathway follows Batumbil Burarrwanga and her sisters as they retrace a 60km journey they walked as young children in 1964, with their father. Over 50 years later, as Elders of the Gumatj clan in North East Arnhem land, the sisters joyously relive their life experiences while retracing the path of sacred dogs along the coastline of the Arafura Sea. This documentary follows the Burrarwanga sisters as they speak to their country, showing us how we can connect to the land as gurrutu (family) relations.


Etched in Bone

Tuesday, 10pm

Jacob Nayinggul, an Aboriginal Elder from Arnhem Land knows that the bones of his ancestors were stolen by scientists in 1948, and for sixty years they have been held at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC. When, after years of argument, the Smithsonian finally agrees to repatriate the bones, Jacob Nayinggul creates a new form of ceremony that restores his ancestors’ spirits to their homeland.


The Point special — ‘Aussie, Aussie, Aussie — Who The Bloody Hell Are We?

Wednesday, 8.30pm

Rachael Hocking and John Paul Janke will host a special edition panel show of NITV’s flagship current affairs program The Point, 'Aussie, Aussie, Aussie — Who the bloody hell are we?', which will discuss Australian identity and how the Indigenous story currently sits within the national psyche. The panel will explore how Australia can better entwine its colonial and migrant stories with the ancient spirit of this land and ask what we can learn from the oldest continuing civilisation on the planet.




Wednesday, 9.30pm

The Bicentennial of the First Fleet was a watershed moment in Australian history and it triggered the largest gathering of Indigenous people this country has ever seen, who came together to tell their story. 88 is a landmark documentary that explores the remarkable events over 30 years ago that led up to January 26th 1988. The protest that occurred on that day instigated mass public debate about the concept of Australian history, the position of Aboriginal people in contemporary society and their sheer determination to be heard.




Thursday, 7.30pm

Marni is an artistic slow-TV experience which follows the creation of a commissioned painting by outstanding Pilbara artist, Allery Sandy. At just over 2.5 hours long, this is a mesmerising marathon of colour and dot work intercut with the majestic landscapes of the Pilbara. As she paints, Allery tells us about herself and her art practice in the Yindjibarndi language.

This is an NITV Commission Premiere. 


Sweet Country

Friday, 9:20pm

‘This is fiercely powerful storytelling, simple and muscular in one way, but also conveying nuance and sophistication in its depiction of character’ – Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian.

Winner of 22 awards including six AACTA awards in 2018, Warwick Thornton’s ‘Sweet Country’ has been celebrated internationally for its raw, honest and poetic storytelling of Australian history. Inspired by real events, Sweet Country is a period western set in 1929 in the outback of the Northern Territory, Australia. When Aboriginal stockman Sam (Hamilton Morris) kills white station owner Harry March (Ewen Leslie) in self-defence, Sam and his wife Lizzie (Natassia Gorey-Furber) go on the run. They are pursued across the outback, through the glorious, but harsh desert country.



We Don’t Need A Map

Friday, 11.20pm

The Southern Cross is the most famous constellation in the southern hemisphere. Ever since colonisation it’s been claimed, appropriated and hotly-contested for ownership by a radical range of Australian groups. But for Aboriginal people the meaning of this heavenly body is deeply spiritual. And just about completely unknown. Now one of Australia’s leading film-makers, Warwick Thornton, tackles this fiery subject head on in a bold, provocative and poetic essay-film. This NITV commissioned documentary “We Don’t Need a Map” asks tough questions about the place of the Southern Cross constellation in the Australian psyche. Imbued with Warwick’s cavalier spirit, this is a fun and thought-provoking ride through Australia’s cultural and political landscape.

Available on SBS On Demand after broadcast.


The Vigil

LIVE Saturday, 7pm, 25 January

Rae Johnston and Jack Latimore host The Vigil live from Sydney. NITV’s broadcast of The Vigil is a moving TV and online event on the eve of January 26, featuring special guests and live music alongside choral and poetry performances. It’s a time to respect Australia’s Indigenous heritage, as well as its colonial institutions and contemporary multicultural migration, from dusk on 25 January until dawn on 26 January. Experience the resilience, beauty and joy of First Nations culture.

Available on SBS On Demand after broadcast.



Saturday, 10pm

NITV winds down the evening with the world premiere of Bamay, meaning Land in the Bundjalung language of northern New South Wales. Bamay is another immersive slow-TV experience of beautiful aerial footage covering our nation’s most stunning and diverse landscapes.  The NITV Production Bamay explores country from the Horizontal Falls in Dambimangari country (Western Australia’s Kimberley region), to Ikara (Wilpena Pound) in South Australia’s Adnyamathanha country, to the pristine waters of Waiben (Thursday Island) in the Torres Straits.

Available on SBS On Demand after broadcast.


Sunrise Ceremony

LIVE Sunday, 6am, 26 January (also simulcast on SBS and Channel 10)

On January 26, 2020 in a two-hour special network event, the nation will be invited to tune in and experience unique Indigenous perspectives, cultural performances and entertainment all encapsulated in NITV’s Sunrise Ceremony. Hosted by John Paul Janke (The Point) and Narelda Jacobs accompanied by a panel of influential Indigenous leaders including; Lydia Miller, Wesley Enoch, Teela Reid, Marlee Silva and Patrick Mau (aka Mau Power). The live broadcast will also feature beautiful performances by Djakapurra Munyarryun, Budja Budja Butterfly Dancers, Meuram Murray Island Dancers, Mitch Tambo and more.

Available on SBS On Demand after broadcast.


The Sapphires

Sunday, 8:30pm (also simulcast on SBS)

Based on a true story, The Sapphires tells the story of the McCrae sisters - four Aboriginal singers from country Victoria whose biggest dream is to become as famous as their Motown idols.

Starring Deborah Mailman, Jessica Mauboy, Miranda Tapsell and Shari Sebbens, the film follows the women as they learn about love, friendship and war as their all-girl group travels to Vietnam to entertain the US troops. Directed by Wayne Blair, The Sapphires received the AACTA Best Film Award in 2013 and is one of the most internationally acclaimed Indigenous films in Australia. 

Available on SBS On Demand after broadcast.


NITV News 

Live Recurring News Updates, 26 January

In light of January 26, NITV News will investigate what made news across Australia over the course of the day, crossing to journalists at Australia Day, Survival Day and Invasion Day events across the country.

Available on SBS On Demand after broadcast.


NITV presents a selection of dedicated programming, special events and news highlights with a focus on encouraging greater understanding of Indigenous Australian perspectives on 26 January. Join the conversation #AlwaysWasAlwaysWillBe