Indigenous elder removed from Obama talk

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An Indigenous elder has been stopped from performing a Welcome to Country ceremony that she was due to give at a Barack Obama event in Melbourne.

Aunty Joy Murphy Wandin says she was told she was being “too difficult” and was removed from event proceedings just hours before the talk was due to commence, according to the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation.

Aunty Joy said she asked the event organisers Growth Faculty to allow her to have a support person accompany her and to provide Mr Obama with a gift according to cultural practice.

But she said she was told the requests were too much.

Aunty Joy Murphy Wandin has welcomed the Queen and Nelson Mandela to Wurundjeri Country. (AAP Image/David Crosling) NO ARCHIVINGAunty Joy Murphy Wandin has welcomed the Queen and Nelson Mandela to Wurundjeri Country. (AAP Image/David Crosling) NO ARCHIVINGFormer US President Barack Obama arrived in Australia on Monday and has given two talks in Sydney and Melbourne. Picture: NCA Newswire / Gaye GerardFormer US President Barack Obama arrived in Australia on Monday and has given two talks in Sydney and Melbourne. Picture: NCA Newswire / Gaye Gerard

“They have always shown me respect and accepted my Welcome as a gift from our people,” Aunty Joy said.

NCA Newswire was told the 78-year-old elder was so upset after being removed from proceedings that she had to lie down.

“I have been shocked and distressed by the way I have been treated by event organisers,” she said.

“I am 78 years of age. I have never been treated or spoken to in this way in the past.”

Tickets to Mr Obama’s talks start at around $200 and climb to $895 for a platinum package. Picture: NCA Newswire / Gaye GerardTickets to Mr Obama’s talks start at around $200 and climb to $895 for a platinum package. Picture: NCA Newswire / Gaye Gerard

As Senior Aboriginal Elder of the Wurundjeri People, Aunty Joy has welcomed the Queen, Nelson Mandela and the Dalai Lama in past ceremonies.

“The Welcome to Country is a very important ceremony for our people. It is an honour to Welcome people like President Obama and I upset that I am unable to do this today,” Aunty Joy said.

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Obama’s ‘big crush’ on Qantas flight attendantObama’s next stop on speaking tourAunty Joy Wandin Murphy was left upset after being removed. Picture NCA NewsWire / Ian CurrieAunty Joy Wandin Murphy was left upset after being removed. Picture NCA NewsWire / Ian Currie

A Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal says it is a “deep offence” to the Wurundjeri people and to all First Nations people.

Growth Faculty has been contacted for comment.

Read related topics:Barack ObamaMelbourne

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