Witiyana Marika

Musician and filmmaker

2024 NT Local Hero

Witiyana Marika has lived his life celebrating and teaching his culture. 

The Rirratjingu (Yolngu) elder is best known as one of the founding members of famous rock band, Yothu Yindi. Witiyana is also celebrated for his acting roles, other musical projects, cross-cultural education and being a leader of his people. 

Most recently, Witiyana was the senior cultural advisor to the film High Ground, which he also co-produced and starred in. Although the movie’s story is fictional, its roots are fact and portray the stories of the massacres of Indigenous people. Witiyana’s involvement in the film reflects his strong belief in truth telling and sharing Indigenous and Australian colonial history. 

A senior Dirritay and Dhalgarra (ceremonial leader) and a teacher of songlines and ceremonies for his clan, Witiyana is known for being generous and inclusive with his cultural knowledge and continuing the practice of Yolŋu Nation Cycle and Rom (lore).