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Australia Yothu Yindi Foundation plans to build new school at Garma Festival site

03:06  20 september  2020
03:06  20 september  2020 Source:   abc.net.au

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A central principle of Yothu Yindi Foundation ’s vision is the creation of economic opportunities for Yolngu The Yothu Yindi Foundation has identified three primary objectives to drive the achievement of Kate Morgan, New South Wales. Why Garma is important? “ Garma provides a platform for the

By Yothu Yindi Foundation . 9 Aug 19 - As you can see, Garma welcomes into the festival fold many old and new friends, helping us deliver programming 13 Oct 15 - The Yothu Yindi Foundation is proud to have produced, directed & hosted yet another compelling Garma at the Gulkula ceremonial

a close up of a mans face: Gumatj elders hope a new school proposed for the Garma site will give better education chances for future generations. (ABC News: Mitchell Woolnough) © Provided by ABC NEWS Gumatj elders hope a new school proposed for the Garma site will give better education chances for future generations. (ABC News: Mitchell Woolnough)

Standing in an empty paddock at the Garma festival site, Murphy Yunupingu spans his arms wide — wide enough to take in full scope of his bold, costly and nostalgic new vision.

The vision is for a new school, a reboot of an old school, his old school, named Dhupuma College.

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Specifically, the Yothu Yindi Foundation vision is: “For Yolngu and other Indigenous Australians to The Garma Festival Youth Forum has been teaching from an open-aired classroom on the very first One of our first collaborative meetings was held on the Gulkula site , in the very Knowledge Centre

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"My thought and plans were the college will be made into a yidaki [didgeridoo] design, a giant yidaki, with the students in it," the project's chairman said, motioning across the dusty plain.

Whether or not it comes to fruition exactly as Mr Yunupingu's dreaming, the plan for the secondary school to be built at the Gulkula site has amassed some groundswell.

With Garma cancelled for 2020 due to COVID-19, Mr Yunupingu said it had given the Yothu Yindi Foundation (YYF), the corporation behind the festival, time to focus on the idea.

"2020 is the year of focus on Yolngu itself," Mr Yunupingu said.

Mr Yunupingu said Dhupuma College would be an independent bilingual school, teaching children — or djamarkuli — in both English and their first tongue, Yolngu Matha.

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At this stage, Garma 2020 will proceed as planned , and we are pushing ahead with our Tickets for Garma 2020 are on sale now and available for purchase through the Yothu Yindi Foundation and For the first time, a new feature in the registration process allows you to choose your camping area!

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"What we're doing is bringing the djarmakuli's knowledge to their second language. So they can climb their second language easy as, without slipping," he said.

The original Dhupuma College was opened at Gulkula — today the site of Garma — in 1972.

The residential college was hailed as a successful model for teaching young Northern Territory students, predominantly Indigenous children, how to exist in both the Yolngu and balanda [non-Indigenous] worlds before it was abruptly shut in 1979.

College prepared to take independent path

The Dhupuma College plan has progressed to the point of high-level discussions with the NT Government, which would be needed to help progress its path to independence.

But YYF's chief executive Denise Bowden said the school would not be bound to the government and would work off its own syllabus.

"Independence is the key," Ms Bowden said.

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Yothu Yindi opening song at Garma Festival with Eyalndt Band Drummer Hayden Lalara guest starring playing percussion, was an amazing performance.

As our Garma Ambass ador, the Yothu Yindi Foundation , friends and families extend our warmest birthday wishes to this gentle man. ELDO was once located on the same site (Gulkula) we at the Yothu Yindi Foundation hold the annual Garma Festival #whatgoesaroundcomesaround.

"It allows us to move in accordance with the ebb and flow of the local community.

"We're hearing quite clearly that the local community want to be part of the design and the curriculum build and have that really strong Yolngu presence."

In a statement, the NT Government acknowledged "bilingual education is one example of how schools can enhance engagement" but wouldn't go as far as committing resources to the project.

The NT Government scrapped bilingual education from its own school curriculums in 2008.

Dhupama plan will face challenges, costs

Going their own way won't be easy. And building a new school on an empty patch of earth in one of the remotest parts of Australia would also have its challenges, and costs, said Gumatj Corporation chief executive Klaus Helms.

"The cost of running it here again in 2021 is very different than it was in 1974," Mr Helms said.

He also cited possible hurdles with power and water delivery in bringing the project to life.

The idea to build the secondary school at Gulkula also coincides with a simultaneous plan from YYF to open an independent kindergarten and early childhood school in the Gove Peninsula community of Gunyangara, which could also compound plans to construct the second facility.

However, a chief architect of the idea, Murphy Yunupingu, remained confident not only that it would happen, but that it would happen in time for Garma Festival 2021.

"Wouldn't that be lovely, just to open Garma and the Dhupumu College itself," Mr Yunupingu said.

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