WHO ARE WE?
Yolŋu Nations Assembly (YNA) is developing to facilitate engagement between the indigenous Maḏayin form of tribal government and the Westminster forms of governments, particularly the Northern Territory Government and the Australian Government. YNA is an extension of the Maḏayin system of governance (Garma, Dhuni, Ŋärra), yet it takes on regional representation as it's underpinning, using eight provinces from East, Central and North West Arnhem Land.
These eight provinces are Miwatj, Laynha, Raminy, Marthakal, Gärriny Gumurr-Rawarraŋ, Gaṯtjirrik and Miḏiyirrk.
The Yolngu Nations Assembly aims to provide a governance organisation for Yolngu society that:
- Is consistent with the Madayin system of law (the traditional legal system of the Yolngu people);
- Facilitates the interests and rights of the subjects of the Maḏayin system of law;
- Is compatible with the Australian Westminster system of Government;
- Empowers existing tribal governance jurisdictions;
- Is a diplomatic agency for outside groups; and
- Enables good governance outcomes that empower and progress Yolngu society.
Currently YNA has it’s decision-making base in an executive group (below) and an annual assembly, open to all clan political leaders known as Ḏalkarrmirr/ Djirrikaymirr (male) and Goŋ-Gaṉmirr (female). However ultimately it is envisaged that YNA will be a type of parliament meeting regularly throughout the year, made up of representatives from each of the eight provinces. A periodic Assembly will then be held for accountability and for the selection of relevant representatives. Voting members of the Assembly are Ḏalkarrmirr, Djirrikaymirr and Goŋ-Gaṉmirr clan leaders.
Yolngu Nations Assembly will also have subsidiary groups know as Makarr Garma Forums (formely called Makarr Dhuni Forums). Makarr Garma Forums are subsidiary groups of Yolngu Nations Assembly overseeing jurisdictional concerns of the Maḏayin system of law within the towns of Arnhem Land. The forums are modeled on the historical Village Councils.
YNA is determined to maintain and uphold the Maḏayin system of law that has been operating since time immemorial and continues to operate today. Below is the English part of the original declaration from the inaugral Assembly in October 2011 at Galiwin'ku.
"We declare that we have not been conquered.
We declare that to this day we are a sovereign people.
We declare that we are subject to our Madayin system of law constituted by the Unseen Creator of the Universe
and revealed to the Givers of Law: Djaŋ'kawu and Barama,
and we continue to steward this system through our lawful authorities and government.
Our Madayin system of law establishes Mägayamirr- peace, order, and good government; is dhapirrk consistant in its statutes;
and is assented to by all Yolŋu citizens through the Wana Lupthun assent ceremony.
Our Madayin system of law is guarded by the Yothu Yindi separation of powers.
Our Madayin system of law is a rule of law not a rule of man.
Our Madayin system of law is the equal of any other system of law."
Mununukanhamirr (Person with authority to gather or call a meeting)
Senior Elders (providing oversight from Ŋärra and powers to call a meeting)
Djawarrkmirr (Person with authority to speak on behalf of the assembly)
Women's Forum Coordinator:
Condolences to the family of Nalwarri Ŋurruwuṯthun who passed in September 2015. Ms Ŋurruwuṯthun acted as the Womens Coordinator since 2012.
Nalwarri is a Maḏarrpa women who resided in Yirrkala