69. Yolngu and Balanda confusion about each other’s business culture

The third podcast in the series. Djiniyini Gondarra and Richard Trudgen discuss how Yolngu often hear that they have to give up their culture and learn Balanda culture – yet traditional Yolngu ways of trading and doing business are the same as modern Balanda business methods.

Djiniyini points out that Balanda often mystify Yolngu culture, and frequently use the word ‘ceremony’ which is an English word. This means they think it’s just dancing. So Yolngu law and business ways in ceremonies is not understood They don’t understand inter-clan trade and production. The example of international Macassan trade is used. Djiniyini discusses how Balanda don’t see the full deep law of creating peace and bringing people together as one, or where Yolngu assent to the law.

Richard and Djiniyini discuss large Balanda companies and how they operate. They explain these are not government companies (many Yolngu believe that most large Balanda companies are government owned) but are private companies owned by private people. They explain how many Balanda work this way so they can receive income from their production and contract arrangements. Some work by themselves so they can be their own boss and are called sole traders. Others work together with members of their family to create private industries.


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

  • Balanda stealing pearls from Yolngu estates  00:00
  • The end of Yolngu private business and now just working for wages 9:48
  • Yolngu need sole traders and small family business   19:02
  • Where can Yolngu find someone to sell their products that come from their estates  29:02