Last night, Senior Wurundjeri elder, Aunty Joy Murphy Wandin AO, was asked to perform a Welcome to Country. This would’ve been for an event called A Night With Barack Obama at Melbourne’s John Cain Arena. Unsurprisingly, this event was a night where the former President of the United States, Barack Obama, spoke.
However, Aunty Joy was sacked by Growth Faculty, the organisers of said event. Understandably, this has upset Aunty Joy.
This news comes from the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation, which helps organise Welcome to Countries. They have said that Aunty Joy was fired for asking to give Obama a cultural gift and making some other requests.
“She was told that she was being ‘too difficult’ and was removed from event proceedings,” said the corporation.
“This is a deep offence to the Wurundjeri people and to all First Nations people. Our 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.”
Additionally, Aunty Joy has commented on the situation, saying, “I have been shocked and distressed by the way I have been treated by event organisers.”
“I am 78 years of age. I have never been treated or spoken to in this way in the past.”
In response to this situation, Growth Faculty posted a statement on Instagram, saying: “Growth Faculty had been working with Aunty Joy and the Wurundjeri community for many weeks ahead of last night’s event. Due to security requirements, the organisation was unable to accommodate last minute changes to the agreed upon ceremony.”
“Growth Faculty has apologised to Aunty Joy that last night’s ceremony could not be changed. Aunty Joy has accepted Growth Faculty’s invitation to perform Welcome to Country at a business lunch taking place in Melbourne today.”
Comments have been turned off on posts relating to the event on their Instagram account.
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