• Yuendumu community disappointed with minister Ken Wyatt's visit. (ABC: Isabella Higgins )Source: ABC: Isabella Higgins
Elders from the remote Northern Territory community of Yuendumu say they are disappointed with the response from the Minister for Indigenous Australians during visit.
By
Ryan Liddle, Brooke Fryer, Jack Latimore

Source:
NITV News
15 Nov 2019 - 3:33 PM  UPDATED 15 Nov 2019 - 3:37 PM

Elders and community members from Yuendumu have said they are disappointed with a visit from the Federal Minister for Indigenous Australians held in Alice Springs overnight. 

Minister Ken Wyatt attended a community meeting on Thursday night promising to listen to the concerns of the Elders from the Yuendumu community following the fatal shooting of 19-year-old Kumanjayi Walker by Northern Territory police.

On Friday, Warlpiri Elder Ned Hargraves told NITV News that Mr Wyatt could have gone about his visit in a more culturally appropriate way. 

“We were in [a] circle and he was standing in the middle of the Elders and saying to us all about structures,” said Mr Hargraves.

“He could have sat down and talked to us in an appropriate way, where we discuss our culture, our business.”

Mr Hargraves said the Elders and community are asking the NT police to “not wear guns in remote communities”.

He said he asked Mr Wyatt for his thoughts on the removal of firearms from community and was told: “I cannot comment”.

Mr Hargraves said he was disappointed by the response.

“He's our representative, he's a federal person, he should have given me something but I wasn’t satisfied with his comments and with the way he was talking to me,” he said.

Mr Hargraves said the community and Elders felt they could not “trust anybody right now”.

“We can't trust the police, they are saying ‘we are for you, we serve the country, we serve you, we protect you’ [but] where is the protection for us?” he said.

“We are weeping, we are not happy with the whole situation.”

Local MP Scott McConnell backs the communities' call to ban guns in remote communities.

“This is an opportunity to reconsider the way guns are worn by police officers on Country,” he told NITV News.

Overnight, ABC News reported that Mr Wyatt offered to work with the community but remained adamant that policing and their use of guns was an issue for the NT government to address. 

In a statement to ABC News, Chief Minister Michael Gunner said the NT Government would continue to support police.

"Police have to make operational decisions about how they best serve and protect Territorians and we will continue to support them in making those decisions," he said.  

On Saturday, Kumanjayi Walker was fatally shot in his home in Yuendumu by a police officer.

The police were allegedly attempting to arrest Mr Walker for “outstanding offences”.

The tragedy sparked protests in the town and solidarity demonstrations across Australia, each calling for justice for the family of Mr Walker, the community of Yuendumu and the Warlpiri people.

On Wednesday night, a 28-year-old policeman was charged with murder over the shooting and later released on bail.

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