67. Why are we poor and Balanda rich?

Maratja Dhamarrandji and Richard Trudgen discuss why Yolngu are poor and Balanda are rich.

In a traditional, and initially indirect, Yolngu way Maratja asks “Why are Yolngu poor and Balanda rich”? And why?” Richard and Maratja discuss how many Balanda would say that Yolngu are rich because they have big estates with lots of assets on them. Yet Yolngu are asset rich but cash poor.

Maratja also asks how Aboriginal people across Australia can find a way at law where they can also be rich rather than being poor all the time.

They discuss how Balanda can hold back two things from Yolngu people. The first is resources, and the second is information and knowledge. Maratja talks about how real power is in knowledge. They discuss the short history of English learning in Yolngu communites and that even today Yolngu do not have any open source English learning programs. This is leaving Yolngu in the dark with little information and knowledge, so they sit powerless.

They discuss the importance of having Djambatjmarram.com and also English learning on Yolngu Radio.

Maratja discusses how many Yolngu think and talk in Yolngu Matha, and that lack of appropriate language resources leads to powerlessness. He says sometimes is very hard for Yolngu to understand what English means, especially at the academic level. He mentions that even the bilingual programs are not truly supported by Balanda, who have control of the education system.

Maratja and Richard explore how knowledge is power and give some examples in relation to this.


There are 4 stories in this podcast. Please see time stamps below-

  • Why are Yolngu poor & Balanda rich 00:00
  • Yolngu poor in knowledge no English learning programs 10:07
  • Learning English & Yolngu Matha together will give real Knowledge and Power 20:07
  • Information is power but Yolngu have no complete dictionaries 30:02