• The annual Garma Festival brings together business leaders, politicians, academics and journalists to discuss the most pressing issues facing Australia. (Garma Festival)Source: Garma Festival
Makarrata is a yolngu word for coming together or healing - the theme for #Garma2017
Laura Morelli

3 Aug 2017 - 12:16 PM  UPDATED 4 Aug 2017 - 6:03 PM

The annual Garma Festival of Traditional Culture has kicked off, bringing together business leaders, international politicians, academics and journalists, to discuss the most pressing issues facing Australia. 

This festival is Australia’s leading Indigenous cultural exchange event and a national hub for major forums with discussion, policy and action formulation. It brings together Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians through youth forums, art, music, film, song, dance and stories.

NITV is the official media supporter of the 19th Garma festival, which will be celebrated from Friday 4 - Monday 7 August in Gulkula, Arnhem Land. The channel will present a special four-day broadcasting slate, sharing Indigenous stories, from an Indigenous perspective, through an Indigenous lens.

This year sees inspiring women leading powerful discussions, with Sonia Smallacombe, former Social Affairs Officer for the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous issues, joining NITV as political analyst, Natalie Ahmat as anchor and Karla Grant, Nakari Thorpe and Rachael Hocking as presenters.

Together they will be conducting interviews with subject experts such as Bill Shorten, Senator Patrick Dodson and Jackie Huggins, and delivering comprehensive live coverage, capturing debate, discussion, arts, culture and analysis across the festival.

2017 is a special year for Garma as it is the next major meeting of the nation’s Indigenous leaders in the wake of the historic Uluru summit. Momentum is building for a nationwide Makarrata - a Yolngu word for bringing peace after conflict leading to an agreement or treaty, which forms the central theme this year.

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NITV’s Channel Manager, Tanya Orman says one of the biggest Indigenous events of the year must be accessible to all of Australia.

“NITV’s agility and creative ability has enabled us to relocate the channel for Garma from Guringai country to remote Gulkula, a traditional meeting ground in Arnhem Land,” she said.

“Through our special broadcasting slate for Garma 2017, we are proud to be able to provide our audience with a true sense of happenings from this year’s iconic and important gathering, and we are dedicated to delivering the news first as it happens.”

Yothu Yindi Foundation CEO Denise Bowden said she was delighted to have NITV on board again at this year’s event.

“NITV did a fantastic job covering last year’s Garma, ensuring that the conversations which take place at the Key Forum were shared with the nation, while also giving Australians a rare glimpse into the rich cultural traditions of the Yolngu people.”

Gumatj clan leader Dr Galarrwuy Yunupingu will give a presentation on the "renal nightmare" plaguing Indigenous Australians, a week after Australia's most prominent Aboriginal musician Dr G Yunupingu died from kidney and liver disease.

High profile Indigenous Australians including Noel Pearson, Referendum Council co-chair Pat Anderson, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner June Oscar will participate in the event.

Meanwhile Aboriginal Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion, Labor Senator Pat Dodson and former Liberal Party Deputy Leader Fred Chaney will also attend forums.

NITV’s Garma broadcasting will include Welcome to Garma, a half hour live morning show and The Point Review hosted live from Gulkula on Friday 4 August, full day live hosted forums on Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 August, and Farwell from Garma, a half hour live show and a special youth-focused The Point on Monday 7 August.

Garma attracts 2,500 business, political, academic, and other leaders from across the globe and is committed to improving the state of Indigenous disadvantage by engaging these leaders to shape global, regional and industry agendas.

Keep up-to-date online through the NITV website, Facebook and Twitter for exclusive interviews, Facebook Live events, articles and explainers from Garma. Join in the conversation using #Garma2017 and #NITV.

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