Treaty moves and dance grooves to headline Garrmalang

Some of Australia’s leading Aboriginal activists will take the podium to discuss the push for an Indigenous treaty and constitutional change at this year’s Garrmalang Festival in Darwin.

Among the speakers at the panel discussion — entitled ‘250 Shades of Black’ after the 250 known Indigenous languages in Australia — will be Michael Mansell, Josie Crawshaw, Olga Havnen and Luke Pearson.

The event coincides with the 50th anniversary of the 1967 referendum, which led to the removal of some discriminatory passages in the Australian Constitution, and will follow a national meeting of the Prime Minister’s Referendum Council at Uluru.

Darwin-born Ms Crawshaw, who played a major role in the regional meetings leading to the Uluru summit, will detail the findings of the Referendum Council at the Darwin panel discussion.

She said the Federal Government wanted a “minimalist solution” to the drive for constitutional change.

“But what’s the point of all this effort just to recognise Indigenous people as Australians?” she said.

She said some Aboriginal people would be happy with only a treaty to acknowledge Indigenous people as the First Australians, but many others were pushing for a “comprehensive package to reset the relationship” between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.

“That package could include the treaty and social justice measures,” Ms Crawshaw said.

“There is no reason why the treaty and other constitutional reform should be exclusive of each other.”

The panel will be hosted by former ABC journalist Murray McLachlan and will be held at the Darwin Entertainment Centre on Sunday, May 28 at 2pm. Entry is a free but it is a ticketed event.

  • The Garrmalang Festival is being staged at Darwin Entertainment Centre from May 26-28. Entertainment will include burlesque group Hot Brown Honey, dance group Djuki Mala and Arnhem Land singer songwriter Yirrmal and his full band.

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