• The name of the Lets Go Walkabout party was changed after criticism fired on social media. (Facebook)Source: Facebook
An apology and a name change from 'Lets Go Walkabout' organiser after social media backlash.
By
Andrea Booth

Source:
NITV News
5 Jan 2016 - 4:21 PM  UPDATED 5 Jan 2016 - 5:42 PM

Lets Go Walkabout party organiser Leigh Weller has changed the name of his event after he was lambasted on social media for appropriating "from Aboriginal cultures".

The party, now called "Lets Go Walkaround", was promoted as a "traditional Aussie bush doof" from January 23 to 25 at a non-specified location two hours west of Sydney.

Tumblr user On Being a Blackfella criticised the use of the word “walkabout” on the event's Facebook page

 

Other Facebook users also criticised the party’s name.

“We have shown here that we are strong, brave, resistant, proud, and that we refuse to ignore the abuse of our culture,” Evelyn Araluen Corr said. “I hope that the organisers listen to our criticisms and act appropriately.”

In response, Leigh Weller explained the decision behind using the word ‘walkabout’. 

“Next time I’ll realise how lost Australia really is from any hope of living hand in hand with each other. I hold affinity to Australia as a country and only wish to celebrate the land,” he wrote on Facebook. “And [by] using the name hoped many would feel welcome and wish to come out from the city to a good bush party.”

‘Walkabout’ is considered derogative when non-Indigenous Australians use the term. However, the Urban Dictionary defines it as “Australian, Given to us by [internationally famous movie] Crocodile Dundee, [which used the term]".

Weller told NITV that he was unaware about the Indigenous protocol.

"We were not aware of the specific Indigenous protocol that is in place with the English language, but I'm aware that a lot of racism has gone on in the past in this country over the years," he said. "I did not intend to insult the Indigenous culture in any way but to somehow involve it."

Weller, who has an international background, suggested that people may not have enough information about Indigenous protocol "because of the great divide between our many cultures".

"It was at events like this I had hoped to see us learn more of each others cultures and protocols as we might start to finally respect each other and not take offence at every turn. Our use of the word walkabout was intended as an invitation more than an insult but unfortunately this has been completely misunderstood.

"We are very sorry for the offence we have caused and are taking steps to understand how we can all work together while respecting each other's cultures." 

He added that working together with Indigenous communities could bridge this gap and offered space at his event for an Indigenous person to welcome the partygoers to country and educate them.

It comes on the heels of Aussie movie star Chris Hemsworth being slammed on social media for dressing as a Native American for a themed New Year’s Eve party.

The image, posted to Instagram, shows Thor and his friends wearing war paint and headdresses in front of a wanted sign.

NITV contacted On Being A Blackfella through social media but she did not respond by the time of publication.