In August 2008 we arrived by bus at Gulkula in the Northern Territory for a week of camping in a sea of tents. Each day we attended interesting seminars throughout the day and in the afternoon watched the gathering of the Yolngu tribes each with their own unique body decorations, costumes and choreography for the traditional Bunggul dance. Evening films were screened in the outdoors and Indigenous music played well into the night. A bus trip to Yirrkala was a highlight to see the Church Panels and the Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Aboriginal Art Centre which housed significant traditional and contemporary Indigenous paintings and sculptures.
Garma is a celebration of cultural traditions and practices, and the event brought together key Aboriginal leaders, international political leaders, business leaders, intellectuals, academics and journalists to present and discuss critical issues facing Australian Indigenous communities. The Key Forum theme was ‘Indigenous knowledge: Caring for Country and Culture’ and was organised by Charles Darwin University. Indigenous open-air seminars were held to address economic development, cultural tourism, youth community leadership programs, students’ contemporary music training, dancing, film program and a collaborative art project. Additionally, Aboriginal elders demonstrated bush medicine, basketry, canoe making, bark preparation for painting and lino cut prints telling their stories.