A full excerpt of the speech delivered by Michael Yunupingu, 19, at the opening of the Garma key forum on Saturday
Nhammirri bukmak Ngapaki ga Yolngu and everyone else sitting in this room. I’d like to acknowledge the traditional owners of this land – the Gumatj people. My name is Michael Gadingura Yunupingu, and I am Dr Yunupingu’s grandson. I’d like to summarise my life to you all, as I think it is very important for everyone to sit and listen to.
My brother and I grew up most of our lives in Adelaide, taken care of single-handedly by our mother, who is also a foster carer to many past and present and adopted by Wandjuk Marika – who was a Rirrtangu leader. We were encouraged from a young age to go to school and make the most of our education. We were also encouraged to commit to sports, and experience a range of programs, which allowed us to gain connections and interests. It was hard for us to maintain and learn more about our own language and culture, as we lived on the other side of the country, but we always knew this land was part of us and who we are.