Songs That Grabbed Me – Yothu Yindi, Treaty

Yunupingu died earlier today.

The lead singer of Australian band Yothu Yindi was 56 and was suffering from kidney failure. Far too young.

He is best known for the song Treaty which was written by Yothu Yindi and Paul Kelly and Midnight Oil front man Peter Garret, around the time the then prime minister Bob Hawke promised to form a treaty between the Indigenous Australians and the Australian government by 1990. And then failed to do so. Treaty was originally intended to raise public awareness of the promise made and then became a protest song when the promise was broken.

Yunupingu holds the distinction of being the first Indigenous Australian from Arnhem Land to gain a university degree.

He is also recognised as being Australia’s first Aboriginal principal after taking over the Yirrkala Community School.

He was named Australian of the Year in 1992 for his role in building bridges between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities.

Mr. Yunupingu. May you return peacefully to your place in the Dreaming.

See this website for lyrics and a translation of the Gumatj lyrics.

Edit: Mr. Yunupingu’s first name and photo have been removed out of respect for the Yunupingu family.

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