One Australian Elder’s promise to protect the women and children of her clan
She has made it her mission in life: any woman or child of her Indigenous community who needs protection can come and stay with her. Gayili Banduk Marika Yunupingu has opened her door to those who suffer from domestic violence or consider suicide as the only way out.
Galupa is a tract of land along the shore of Gove Peninsula in North East Arnhem Land, Northern Territory. It is the traditional homeland of the people of the Yolngu Nation. A mining company once offered Gayili, who is a Gumatj Clan Elder, three million dollars for the property. However, she refused because she considers it a duty to respect and protect her heritage.
Until recently, the only shelter was a tin-plate open shed. Traditional Cultural Practices - an NGO with projects centered on the region’s First Nation People - and Amma Australia partnered to build an insulated and air-conditioned demountable home to protect the residents from the area’s extreme weather.
At her 66th birthday celebrations, Amma also inaugurated a program to uplift the community’s young women by reconnecting them with their traditional arts. Through the teachings of their Elders, The Galupa Homeland Project inspires the women and their children to honor their land and culture.
Peter McConchie is this video’s filmmaker and also Traditional Cultural Practices’ Director of Projects. He grew up with close cultural and family ties to the clan groups of North East Arnhem. This inspired him to travel the Australian continent for over thirty years working in remote First Nation Communities. His early work revolved largely around reducing Indigenous youth suicide through connection to traditional culture with the Elders.