Raymattja Marika

Teacher and linguist

2007 NT Australian of the Year

Raymattja Marika understands all of the fourteen clan languages of the Rirratjingu people and speaks three of them fluently. She has a long involvement with Indigenous education and is a Director of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies. Raymattja has worked mostly in primary and adult education and has been responsible for planning and delivering numerous orientation, induction, and Yolngu Matha classes for professional teaching staff. Her writings on two-way education are highly respected around Australia. Raymattja is an expert in this field of work, which is the practice of drawing on two separate domains of knowledge, like a meeting of two bodies of water in a lagoon where salt water and fresh water come together. Invoking this metaphor, which she draws on as a participant in the Ganma/ Garma Research Project at the Yirrkala School, Raymattja is an eloquent advocate for the mixing of Western and Indigenous knowledge. She is also active nationally as a board member of Reconciliation Australia.