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In this podcast series, Maratja Dhamarrandji and Richard Trudgen discuss why Balanda (mainstream western Australians) do not recognise Yolngu law, its foundational source, array of evidence, and the many checks and balances that underpin it. One of the main problems leading to this marr-dhumbalyun, confusion, is language.
Maratja Dhamarrandji and Richard Trudgen discuss the ongoing confusion about who the real landowners are, and who are the TOs, as the Lands Council calls them, or the ‘Traditional Owners’. One of the big problems is mainstream Australians (Balanda) think Yolŋu law is just some little thing, rather than a very complex legal system full of its own witnesses, evidences and checks and balances. Even anthropologists, and some Yolŋu people themselves, do not understand the complexities of Yolŋu law, so they ask Balanda lawyers from Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne etc., to tell them who the traditional landowners are.
Maratja Dhamarrandji and Richard Trudgen talk about how Yolŋu people have lost their humanity, their respect for the law and for each other that used to be there when Yolŋu leaders applied the original Australian law. Richard talks about how only a few decades ago, Arnhem Land communities were among the safest in Australia. Now, with the loss of culture, identity and leadership, Yolŋu people are attacking each other, youths join gangs and there is more domestic violence and lawlessness than ever before.
Maratja Dhamarrandji tells Richard Trudgen it's the Balanda mainstream influence that is affecting Yolŋu understanding of law and order.