Kimberley Art, VIC
Yalkarriwuy grew up on a Christian mission; there he was naturally receptive to the lessons in the Bible and the doctrines of the faith. But he felt the incompatibility between traditional Yolngu beliefs and the Christian account of the universe, with Jesus as the saviour of all mankind. Then, while he was still young, came a key breakthrough: he was at church, listening to a sermon, in which the message of the prophets was being described. “You will do well to pay attention,” said the preacher, “because that message is like a lamp shining in a dark place until the day dawns and the light of the morning star shines in your heart.” Confirmation! A match of the two beliefs. Yalkarriwuy’s spiritual path was set: the Banumbirr (Morning Star) was spoken of in the Bible. He realised at that moment that his ancient beliefs must be true.
“I went forwards with great confidence,” he says, “knowing my faith in my culture had been restored” – and today he is still a man with two distinctive sides to his faith: he is a clan leader and ceremony custodian, and also a prominent member of the Galiwinku Uniting Church.
Kimberley Art, VICShare