It has been 32 years since the Barunga festival first began and it’s still going strong today.

This year’s event saw more than 4000 people flock to Barunga over the June long weekend, including sports men and women, musicians, artists, dancers, storytellers and punters alike.

Ngukurr’s football, basketball and softball players dominated the sports fields and courts, while Missy Higgins, Coloured Stone, Justine Clarke, B2M, Bunna Lawrie and Caiti Baker delighted large crowds who gathered under the stars.

Jawoyn culture was also on display over the weekend where people had the chance to make their own Yidaki, enter spear throwing competitions and learn more about bush tucker and bush medicine.

Barunga Festival is a time our elders and our children enjoy – and its success is a tribute to them.

A special thanks to all those who worked tirelessly behind the scenes alongside Skinnyfish to make this year’s festival a great success.

Next year we will celebrate a very special 30th anniversary – when Aboriginal leaders from across the country came together to present Prime Minister Bob Hawke with the Barunga Statement – which called for a treaty. Bob Hawke signed the statement but it was never brought before Parliament.

Reconciliation and the recent Uluru statement gives new hope for more recognition and a brighter future for Aboriginal people and all Australians.

Jawoyn Association chairperson Lisa Mumbin spoke about these important issues in her welcoming speech, as did the Northern Territory Senator Malarndirri McCarthy – before traditional dancers performed for the audience.

Next year’s festival promises to be special – and we welcome you all to be part of this historic occasion, as we all stand together.

All photos courtesy of the Katherine Times.

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