• Clan members of the Yolngu people from north-eastern Arnhem Land perform the Bunggul traditional dance during the Garma Festival. (AAP)Source: AAP
The Point takes a closer look at three key speeches from this year's Garma festival.
NITV Staff Writer

23 Aug 2018 - 4:32 PM  UPDATED 24 Aug 2018 - 10:22 AM

Each year around 2000 visitors gather at Gulkula - around 40km outside Nhulunbuy in north east Arnhem Land for the four-day Garma festival.

It's a celebration of culture and ideas as leaders from all across Australia meet to take on some of the biggest issues facing Indigenous Australia.

Three key speeches from this year's festival deserve a closer look.

Gumatj clan leader Djawa Yunupingu's call to unite 'two peoples'

The deputy chairman of the Yothu Yindi Foundation set the stage with a powerful address about traditional sovereignty. Dr Yunupingu called for sympathy for Indigenous people who were deprived of their traditional land, laws and culture after European settlement.

“Let there be a person who holds up a light and says, ‘Here, come with me. This is how we must do it — there is a better way,’” he said.

“Let there be a prime minister who does that.”

How long do we have to wait? Yolngu leaders demand recognition of ancient sovereignty
Senior Yolngu leaders say they've grown old waiting for the original sovereign leaders of the country to be recognised.

Noel Pearson's declaring a voice to parliament is a ‘life or death matter’

One of the architects of the Uluru Statement From the Heart, Mr Pearson warned against pursuing Treaty ahead of a constitutionally enshrined Indigenous voice to parliament. He has continued to push for the proposal despite Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull’s decision to reject it.

“Constitutional enshrinement is a goal we can’t let slip away,” he said.

"We can't take the word of an ordinary person, we can't be intimidated, can't be told that the Australian people are so racist or redneck or opposed [to a referendum]."

20 years of Garma: Two decades of hope, honesty and determination
Twenty years of Garma

William Tilmouth's personal story

In a speech which received a standing ovation, Arrernte man spoke about how he and his siblings were stolen from their family. They were taken from their home in Central Australia and sent to Croker Island 200km northeast of Darwin.  

"I cannot speak my own language, I have grandchildren but I was denied my mother and father," Mr Tilmouth said.

"Sometimes I don't know where I belong, where we're going or who the hell am I."

‘Turnbull government chose to write itself out of history’
Australian author Richard Flanagan says the Turnbull government wrote itself out of history when it rejected calls for an Indigenous voice to parliament.

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