The communities of Dhuruputjpi and Gangan where this film was shot are in an area called Blue Mud Bay, some 250km south of Yirrkala and the white mining town of Nhulunbuy. Dhuruputjpi consists of 4 houses and an office, and is home to between 30 and 60 people. There is no mains power, no shop, and often no functioning vehicle in the community. In the wet season the only reliable way in and out of the community is by small plane. Gangan is larger, but not much better off.

These communities were established during the ‘homeland movement’ of the 1970’s and 1980’s. This ‘movement’ back to traditional lands and culture was in response to a decade of failed legal protests by Yolngu Aboriginal people, firstly against the development of a bauxite mine that had been built beside the old mission centre of Yirrkala (finally decided in the Gove Land Rights Case of 1971) and secondly against the service of alcohol in the adjacent town of Nhulunbuy (Liquor Licensing Commission, 1970). After these disappointments tribal elders decided to return their people to traditional clan estates, moving away from the pubs, alcohol, and other social problems that came with the mine, and attempting to protect their children and ensure the preservation of their culture.

For the same reasons these communities remain determined to stay on their own country.

We began shooting our film in early 2006, more than a year before the announcement of the federal government ‘intervention’ in the Northern Territory. Already at that time however, these communities were aware that their future was in jeopardy. There had been much local discussion of government initiatives designed to close down small remote area communities such as theirs. This was the political climate in which this film was made.