1986, 54 Minutes
This film records the reaction of one clan leader, Narritjin Maymuru, to the coming of the Gove bauxite mine.
In mid-1971 Narritjin held a mortuary ceremony at Yirrkala in memory of several relatives. He opened this ceremony to visitors from the mining town, charging them a small entrance fee.
Narritjin had two objectives in mind. Firstly, he wanted to raise money so that he could move with his family away from Yirrkala and the mine and set up a small settlement on his own clan land, some 150 kilometres to the south. Secondly, Narritjin wanted to promote better understanding of Yolngu culture and the relationship between the Yolngu and their land.
The first part of One Man’s Response focuses on a concert given by Yirrkala school children for the mining community at Nhulunbuy. This contrasts dramatically with the second, and major part of the film, which covers the ceremony organised by Narritjin.
The school concert and the mortuary ceremony highlight the differences between western style performance (for an audience), and Yolngu ceremonial performance. But the theme of communication, or rather non-communication, is central to both events. In a final sequence, Narritjin reflects on the problems resulting from opening the ceremony to non-Indigenous people.
A Film Australia National Interest Program. © 2011 National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.
Producer/Director/Narrator: Ian Dunlop
Featured People: Narritjin Maymuru
Running Time: 54 Minutes
Classification: Exempt from classification
Curriculum Links: Indigenous Studies; Studies of Religion; Legal Studies - Contesting laws: Heritage, culture and land; SOSE/HSIE; Australian History - of particular relevance for NSW History Stage 5, Topic 6 'Changing Rights and Freedoms' Section A: Aboriginal Peoples - Change over Time; NSW History Stage 4 'Aboriginal and Indigenous Peoples, Colonisation and Contact History: What has been the nature and impact of colonisation on Aboriginal, Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples?'; English; Performing & Visual Arts. Teachers’ notes and background material are included on DVD.