An Aboriginal elder has been pulled from performing a Welcome to Country for former US President Barack Obama because she was being “too difficult”, she claims.
Senior Wurundjeri elder Aunty Joy Murphy was part of the official program at President Obama’s speaking event at John Cain Arena in Melbourne on Wednesday night.
But she says she was removed from proceedings because she asked for someone to support her on stage and wanted to give the former US leader a gift.
She will now also not be allowed to meet President Obama at a lunch event on Thursday.
Senior Wurundjeri elder Aunty Joy Murphy (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)
“I have been shocked and distressed by the way I have been treated by event organisers,” Aunty Joy said.
“I am 78 years of age. I have never been treated or spoken to in this way in the past.”
“I do not want this to be a reflection on President Obama. I am a leader of the Wurundjeri
Nation. I asked to be treated as an equal.”
The Wurundjeri Woi-Wurrung Cultural Heritage Corporation said the actions by event organiser The Growth Faculty were “a deep offence to the Wurundjeri people and to all First Nations people”.
Barack Obama in Sydney. Picture: Justin Lloyd.
“Welcome to Country protocols are our traditional law and practice that have been used
to welcome and offer protection to our guests on Wurundjeri lands for millennia,” a statement from the group said.
“Aunty Joy Murphy has welcomed dignitaries of the highest level to Wurundjeri Country,
including the Queen, Nelson Mandela, and the Dalai Lama.
“She has had the honour and the responsibility as the senior Aboriginal elder of the Wurundjeri people to welcome people to our country for over 40 years.
“This has caused grief that the community will be left to deal with long after Mr Obama has left Australia.”
News.com.au has contacted The Growth Faculty for comment.
Read related topics:Barack Obama