Treaty – Yeah!

This song “Treaty” was written by Australian musician Paul Kelly and Yothu Yindi members Mandawuy Yunupingu, Kellaway, Williams, Gurrumul Yunupingu, Mununggurr and Marika.

Personally the song means a lot to me as I remember hearing for the first time in my life the unique blend of the beautiful, haunting Aboriginal music and “white” music.

Also it was popular around my last year of university 20 years ago when “Mabo” was a hot topic and I have a lot of great memories of researching land ownership and talking with some local Aboriginal groups.  This is where I first learnt about the dreamtime and storytelling.

A few years later I used Aboriginal storytelling in my General English classes at Griffith University in Brisbane.

The song contains lyrics in both English and in Yolngu matha (see below).  It carries a strong political message but in such a soft, unassuming way.  The youtube link shows Bob Hawke visiting Arnhem land, some unique footage of children jumping off a trampoline on the beach and band members performing.

Sarah Dyer

(currently studying Ling 566 on the MAAL)

Yothu Yindi – Treaty

Well I heard it on the radio
And I saw it on the television
Back in 1988
All those talking politicians
Words are easy, words are cheap
Much cheaper than our priceless land
But promises can disappear
Just like writing in the sand

Treaty Yeah Treaty Now
Treaty Yeah Treaty Now

Nhima Djatpangarri nhima walangwalang –
Nhe Djatpayatpa nhima gaya nhe-
Matjini…. Yakarray – nhe Djat’pa nhe walang – Gumurrtijararrk Gutjuk –

This land was never given up
This land was never bought and sold
The planting of the Union Jack
Never changed our law at all

Now two rivers run their course
Separated for so long
I’m dreaming of a brighter day
When the waters will be one

Treaty Yeah Treaty Now Treaty Yeah Treaty Now
Treaty Yeah Treaty Now Treaty Yeah Traty Now

Nhima djatpa nhe walang
gumurrtjararrk yawirriny Nhe gaya nhe matjini
Gaya nhe matjini Gaya gaya nhe gaya nhe
Matjini walangwalang Nhema djatpa nhe walang – Nhe gumurrtjarrk nhe ya-

Promises – Disappear – Priceless land – Destiny –

Well I heard it on the Radio – And I saw it on the Television
Just like writing in the sand

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