The Yothu Yindi Foundation was established in 1990 to promote Yolngu cultural development with community leaders and persons of authority from five regional clan groups:
The leadership and innovative program development of the Foundation are considered significantly positive forces supporting Indigenous cultural maintenance, not only in Northeast Arnhem Land, but throughout the country and internationally.
The mission of the Yothu Yindi Foundation is for Yolngu and other Indigenous Australians to have the same level of wellbeing and life opportunities as non-Indigenous Australians. The Foundation is a not-for-profit charitable public benevolent institution, with an all- Yolngu Board of Directors. All revenues to the Foundation go to the infrastructure and delivery of its cultural, health, arts, education and economic programs.
From 1999, promotion of Yolngu cultural development included producing the annual Garma Festival of Traditional Cultures (Garma) and, as from May 2007, running Dilthan Yolngunha (The Healing Place).
The Foundation’s major vision is to develop its activities and objectives through the use of artistic and cultural practices towards ensuring Yolngu ownership, drive and direction of the future of the Yothu Yindi Foundation.
Why the Yothu Yindi Foundation exists?
A central principle of Yothu Yindi Foundation’s vision is the creation of economic opportunities for Yolngu and other Indigenous Australians that can be sustained over the long term – opportunities that will develop through the use of artistic and cultural practices and, importantly, through Yolngu ownership, drive and direction. (Note: Yothu + Yindi = child + mother = balance). Specifically the Yothu Yindi Foundation has stated that its vision is:
“For Yolngu and other Indigenous Australians to have the same level of wellbeing and life opportunities and choices as non-Indigenous Australians”
What is it aiming to achieve?
The Yothu Yindi Foundation has identified three primary objectives to drive the achievement of its vision of financially, physically and culturally sustainable Indigenous Australians, each vital for social cohesion, cultural identity, community development and maximised economic development. These objectives are to:
- provide contemporary environments and programs to practice, preserve, maintain and present traditional knowledge systems, cultural traditions and cultural practices (such as traditional dance (bunggul), song (manikay), art (miny’tji) and ceremony);
- develop economic opportunities for Yolngu through education, training, employment, enterprise and personal and community development, including community leadership development; and to
- facilitate the sharing of knowledge and culture, thereby fostering a greater understanding between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.