110. What is Evidence? Part 8: Restrained and protected by Madayin law
Click here for the transcript.

Note: Due to lack of resources and time, the complete Yolngu Matha (ym) translation of this series has not been finalised. This translation is done at our own time and cost. Because of the important nature of this subject we will update this as soon as possible.
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In this podcast series, Maratja Dhamarrandji discusses with Richard Trudgen how Yolŋu are legally ‘restrained’ or protected under their system of Madayin rom, Yolŋu law. They discuss the stages in which Yolŋu learn about the law through initiation processes and discipline of their mind, body and soul, that continues right through their lives, starting from when they are very small children. “We are immersed in the culture of Yolŋu people as we are growing up,” Maratja says.

Boys are under the legal protection of their parents until their circumcision ceremony at the age of 12-14. During this ceremony they assent to Yolŋu law and become liable as Yolŋu citizens under the law. They then start to get invited by the elders to other legal forums, where they learn the different levels of Yolŋu law from inside the legal chamber.

Mainstream Australians (Balanda) think Aboriginal culture is songs and dance, but it’s actually a legal education system taught through songlines. Whose land it is, whose estate it is, comes through this songline teaching. And the relationship of a person’s clan to other clans, five across, such as the Märi, the grandmother’s mother’s clan and the grandchildren’s clan, ties them together as one huge group of people. These are the citizens that operate around your particular corporate clan group. This is hard for a lot of Balanda to understand. But for Yolŋu they grow up with knowledge of these relationships since they were toddlers. The big question then, is how to get this information through to Balanda so there can be a consistency of law across two systems.

“Because at the end of the day we don’t want any anarchy,” says Maratja. Aboriginal culture is the opposite of anarchy. It’s about a strong legal structure put in place to create the big peace, or mägaya. Which absolutely everybody wants.

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Click here for the transcript.

Note: Due to lack of resources and time, the complete Yolngu Matha (ym) translation of this series has not been finalised. This translation is done at our own time and cost. Because of the important nature of this subject we will update this as soon as possible.

 

There are 4 Stories in this podcast. Please see time stamps below –

  • Story No. 1 We are restrained by our Madayin law                           00:00
  • Story No. 2 We are under the discipline of Madayin law                 10:06
  • Story No. 3 We have grown up in our system of law                        19:04
  • Story No. 4 We don’t want anarchy, we want Mägaya law              29:18