Garma and CDU - a prospering partnership 

Tourism Shelter

Peter Garrett in the audience

Charles Darwin University continues to forge ahead with its unique partnership with Garma, a Top End celebration of Indigenous Cultural Livelihoods and its increasing links with educational opportunities being offered by CDU and many other partners through the academic forum component of the celebration.

Taking place over three days, the 2005 Garma Key Forum saw speakers travel from across Australia to share knowledge, ideas and present workshops that were successfully woven into the wider celebration of north east Arnhem Land’s Yolngu people.

Coinciding with the release of the Garma Key Forum Report – 2005, CDU Vice Chancellor and Garma Steering Committee Chair Helen Garnett, said the University had in the past played a role, but following her visit to the 2004 event, she noted an opportunity existed for CDU to establish a ‘full partnership’ with Garma, now recognized as one of the biggest Indigenous cultural events in Australia.

Professor Garnett said the Garma Forum has quickly become a major and significant event for Indigenous communities and was no less than the ‘bush equivalent’ of the University’s prestigious twice-yearly Symposia series.

“I am proud and honoured to announce that CDU is now a full partner in producing the Garma Forum and without doubt, the first of many partnerships and joint ventures we will embark upon with Northern Territory’s Indigenous communities,” she said.

“Charles Darwin University is uniquely positioned to offer expertise and a commitment to supporting Indigenous knowledge systems while providing an environment where Indigenous learning opportunities will be continually encouraged and enhanced.”

The Garma Key Forum Report’s principal editor, Professor David Carment AM, praised the efforts of the wider forum team that included representatives from the Yothu Yindi Foundation, universities in Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra who all played a key role in contributing to the report.

“As readers of the report will note, its high quality and informative content relied upon the collaboration and tireless efforts of so many participants from numerous organizations around Australia,” said Professor Carment.

The overall success of Garma 2005 was perhaps best described by Kakadu Community Elder Jacob Nayinggul who commented:  “At this place, we are walking to the future not in front of the whitefella, not behind the whitefella, side by side – not joined, but two peoples walking together.”

View the Garma Key Forum Report 2005 online.