The Annual Garma Festival of Traditional Culture kicks off Friday 4th August, pushing for nationwide Makarrata

The annual Garma Festival of Traditional Culture will begin tomorrow, bringing together business leaders, international politicians, academics and journalists to discuss the most pressing issues facing Indigenous Australians. This festival is Australia’s leading Indigenous cultural exchange event and a national hub for major forums with discussion, policy and action formulation. It brings together Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians through youth forums, art, music, film, song, dance and stories.

The festival will be held at Gulkula, the Gove Peninsula in northeast Arnhem Land and will include a range of inspiring speakers such as Sonia Smallacombe (former Social Affairs Officer for the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous issues) joining as political analyst, Natalie Ahmat as anchor and Karla Grant, Nakari Thorpe and Rachael Hocking as presenters.

Together they will be conducting interviews with subject experts such as Bill Shorten, Senator Patrick Dodson and Jackie Huggins, capturing a range of debate, discussion, arts, culture and analysis across the festival. 

The single priority of the annual Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural festival will be the Referendum Council's recent Uluru Statement from the Heart and report, which calls for changes to the nation's Constitution to allow an Indigenous advisory body in parliament, a treaty-making mechanism and a truth and reconciliation commission. Despite being previously non-committal on the recommendations of the Council, both Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten will be pressed to commit to the proposals when they attend the event beginning on Friday.

The 4 day festival will be broadcast by NITV, including a Welcome to Garma, a half hour live morning show and The Point Review hosted live from Gulkula on Friday 4 August, full day live hosted forums on Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 August, and Farewell from Garma, a half hour live show and a special youth-focused The Point on Monday 7 August.