The event, ‘Lets Go Walkabout: Traditional Aussie Bush Doof’ is planning to be held a few hours out of Sydney.
Why? Well, there’s a few reasons, and all of them are very, very fair:
1) It is named ‘Let’s Go Walkabout’. Consider the cultural connections of this word for Indigenous Australians, and the fact that the event is being held on Indigenous land. Use of such a term is very inappropriate, right?
2) It’s being held on Invasion Day, which is what many Aboriginal people call Australia Day. Using that kind of terminology on that particular day is also extremely shitty.
3) When Indigenous Australians have written on the event’s wall asking for a name change (or asking reasonable questions such as if there has been elder permission given, or if a Welcome to Country will be held) they’ve been met with vitriol, jokes or defiance. Or, their post has been flat out deleted.
Sounds legit, right?!
If you’re a little lost, the term ‘walkabout’ is considered incredibly old-world and offensive by many Indigenous Australians. While the term has been reappropriated and reclaimed by some Aboriginal people, it is regarded as not appropriate for anyone else to use. From Reconciliation Queensland Incorporated‘s ‘Appropriate Terminology’ paper,
“When discussing or describing Indigenous Australian cultures or lifestyles terms such as
primitive, nomadic, walkabout, wandering, uncivilised etc. should not be used. Historical
texts may used these descriptions and this terminology should be critically analysed.
Terms such as complex, sustainable, diverse, civilised, established, purposeful movement
and so on should be used.”
A writer from the Black Australia blog (whose name is withheld) wrote this post about their experience with the event page, which included organiser Leigh Weller responding their request for the event’s name to be changed with “I STOLE NOTHING!!!”
The blog writer also posted a screenshot of a private message from Weller:
The Facebook event is HERE, if you’d like to join in the conversation. However, the organisers have just posted a warning saying, “We are happy to hear everyone’s opinion on this page and encourage the public debate about the event name in question. This being said any rude and disrespectful slander will be deleted as inappropriate. Thank You”.
Good job, Internet!