The Wallabies have been commended for their rendition of the national anthem in Eora language at Saturday night’s Tri Nations Test against Argentina. However, some have also labelled it as “tokenistic”.
The game was held at Western Sydney Stadium, and was the first time a national anthem had been performed in an Indigenous language at a Wallabies Test.
Eora is one of many languages spoken by Indigenous people in Australia, and is traditionally spoken in the Sydney region.
— Wallabies (@wallabies) December 5, 2020
It’s been reported that the Wallabies had been learning the lyrics in Eora to show how serious they are about recognising the role of Indigenous people in the sport.
The anthem was sung by Wiradjuri woman Olivia Fox, who was praised for her wonderful performance on Twitter, giving one person “goosebumps”.
— Dr Lynda-Rose Chapeyama (@drlyndarose) December 5, 2020
Rugby journalist Jamie Pandaram also commended the Eora rendition of the anthem, calling it “a great step forward.”
Absolutely fantastic: every Wallabies player sung the first half of the national anthem in Indigenous language. Learned the words. Paid respect. A great step forward ????????⚫️ #AUSvARG pic.twitter.com/Efy91gIRt7
— Jamie Pandaram (@JamiePandaram) December 5, 2020
Some people have now said that they want to learn the Eora version of the anthem.
My kids (the Australians in the family) are now asking if they can learn the words too. To be like their Mum (NZer) and their Dad (South African) who learn all through school to sing their national anthems like this too.
This is a day to be proud of Australia.
— Dr Mya Cubitt (@MyaCubitt) December 5, 2020
However, others have called it “tokenistic”, including Indigenous NRL player Latrell Mitchell who said that “changing the language doesn’t change the meaning.”
And not one indigenous player in the team. What does that tell you about Australian Rugby. Go count the aboriginal players in rugby league. Sorry, but this looks tokenistic to me.
— Mark Berg (@shirerabbit31) December 5, 2020
Mitchell took to his Instagram stories to express how he felt about the different anthem.
“When will people understand that changing it to language doesn’t change the meaning!” he wrote.
“Be proud but understand what you’re being proud of.
“I stand for us, our mob! Be proud of the oldest living culture.
“Always was, always will be.”