Posted on 31 March, 2017

Exploring the constitution: Recognition

Recognise. You may have seen the blazing ‘R’ around your town or online. This nation-wide campaign is a small part of a very big story.

Over the last two months, Sylvia Nulpinditj has prepared a series of four Dhäwu-dhawu radio shows about Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Sylvia and Hannah Harper worked together with Shaun Wilson and Alexandria Jones (NAAJA) to research and prepare more information for Yolŋu audiences.

Sylvia’s radio series traces the history of colonial law into contemporary Constitutional law. Sylvia reflects on the process, “Through this work, we found out how the foundational laws of Balanda Australia were established, how they grew and changed, and how they are still developing. The Constitution gives the government power to make decisions for Australian people, but it’s difficult for us when we don’t understand where the powers and laws are coming from. It’s confusing! As Yolŋu, we are still thinking about our place in that law. What are the best ways forward from this place in Australian history?” Many people all around Australia are still talking about these questions, and Sylvia hopes that her broadcasts help Yolŋu to feel more well-informed.

NAAJA staff are touring Aboriginal communities across the Top End to discuss Constitutional Recognition. Sylvia and Hannah have generated some plain english resources for NAAJA staff to use in other communities when they share information about the constitution and ‘recognition’. Shaun reports, “The radio programs were well-received in Galiwin’ku, the Makarr Dhuni said this would be great to get out to the wider community and that members would be receptive to this resource. During one of the meetings we played two of the Dhäwu-dhawu shows. Listeners enjoyed the series and gave manymak feedback, asking if they could play it over Galiwin’ku radio so all community members could listen! In Ramingining, two ARDS staff members were at our meeting and their help in facilitating discussion was invaluable to our legal education team. This session paved the way for us to think more deeply and to understand... I’m so glad I was able to contribute to the project and it was such a treat to have worked with Sylvia and experience ARDS’ and Yolŋu Radio’s fine work”

You can hear Dhäwu-dhawu on demand via ARDS’ Soundcloud.

Exploring the constitution: Recognition

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