Help the Warriors of Arnhem Land

Why Warriors is reaching out to people in Australia and across the world to help raise the funds we need to continue developing our educational resources in Yolŋu Matha, the language of the Aboriginal people of north-east Arnhem Land.

Why Warriors work with Yolŋu to create cross-cultural resources that discuss, define and illustrate important information in Yolŋu Matha and English across a variety of media. 

Our mission is to work together to empower Yolŋu to live out their full potential, by restoring individual agency and freedom, building community capacity, and furthering mutual respect and understanding between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.

Yolŋu are considered one of the oldest living cultures on Earth. However, for the last 75 years they have had to suddenly understand and operate in an English-based (Balanda) system, full of concepts extremely foreign to their own. Yolŋu people are struggling with high rates of suicide, incarceration, unemployment and disease.

Why do these terrible problems persist? 

A major underlying cause of these problems is the language barrier. Yolŋu still struggle to understand English concepts and language, because many things have not been explained to them properly, in Yolŋu Matha, and in their worldview. This language barrier causes economic, social and legal crises for Yolŋu people.

Why Warriors is working to break this cycle by creating podcasts and videos that explain concepts that Yolŋu are confused about — explaining them in the Yolŋu Matha language, and in relation to their cultural mores. For example, Why Warriors’ COVID-19 videos discuss ‘social distancing’ in relation to 'gon-wukundi', a Yolŋu law where strong legal restrictions apply around infection control.

Watch (and listen) to one of the videos here:

Why Warriors’ work is essential because:
- We are directly addressing the questions and requests of Yolŋu people 
- We are preserving and prioritising the use of Yolŋu Matha language
- By using the Yolŋu Matha language, we help preserve culture
- We employ local Yolŋu people in a community-led, grassroots social enterprise working on country in Arnhem Land

The Why Warriors team has spent decades collaborating with communities and Yolŋu researchers to explain different modern issues in their language. We have created a free online learning platform specifically for Yolŋu, called Djambatjmarram. Yolŋu people desperately need this critical knowledge to take control of their own lives

Recently our work was evaluated by PriceWaterhouseCoopers' Indigenous Consulting business (PIC) in 2020. Read what they wrote here.

Who we are:

The Founder and Director of Why Warriors, Richard Trudgen, is a community educator and author who has lived and worked with Yolŋu people in Arnhem Land for 40 years, learning their language and customs. Richard authored the seminal book, Why Warriors Lie Down and Die, and works passionately and tirelessly together with his local Yolŋu community to increase mutual understanding and respect between Balanda and Yolŋu.

57906279_1625568548311639_r.jpegRichard works with a Yolŋu team, including Rev. Dr. Djiniyini Gondarra OAM, senior political leader of the Gulamala clan; Maratja Dhamarrandji from Djambarrpuyngu clan; Witiyana Marika, senior elder of the Rirratjiŋu Clan and co-founder of the legendary rock band Yothu Yindi; and Dianne (Biritjalawu) Gondarra, a Yolŋu leader from Elcho Island; to develop these resources in the Yolŋu Matha language.

Your donation will:

Improve and expand our innovative platform for Indigenous learning

- $20,000 will go towards expanding our current podcasts and videos on our online Yolŋu learning platform, Djambatjmarram 
- $5000 will go towards web development, to tidy up our hundreds of current resources so we can make them more accessible to Yolŋu
- $5000 will fund us to add English transcripts, so our resources also become education products for mainstream professionals, improving cross-language dialogue & learning with their Yolŋu clients
- $10,000 will help us to improve distribution and access to our resources across the remote communities in Arnhem Land
- $10,000 will enable us to implement systems to record feedback about our resources across different Yolŋu communities

Any additional funding over $50,000 will allow us to train new Yolŋu researchers and co-producers, and help us continue expanding our educational resources into the future!

Thank you for helping Why Warriors sustain our critical work in closing the language gap in Arnhem Land. 

If you can’t afford to help this time, and you want to stay in touch with our latest news, sign up for our newsletter here.

Please also share with your friends, families and networks!

A final big thanks from Richard Trudgen and the Why Warriors team.
  • Anonymous 
    • $200 
    • 2 mos
  • Tanya Davies 
    • $200 
    • 2 mos
  • Caitlin Coleman 
    • $50 
    • 2 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $100 
    • 3 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $10 
    • 3 mos
See all


Richard Trudgen 
Gapuwiyak NT
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