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Australia’s Wallabies sing anthem in indigenous language


image copyrightEPA

image caption‘Advance Australia Fair’ was sung in both a First Nations language and English

Australia’s rugby team has received praise for singing a version of the country’s national anthem in a First Nations language.

The Wallabies sang “Advance Australia Fair” in both the Eora language and English before their international match against Argentina on Saturday.

It is the first time a joint-language version of the anthem has been performed at an international event.

The players, wearing their indigenous jerseys, sang along with both versions.

Young musician Olivia Fox performed the anthem in the language of the Eora Nation – a clan from around the coastal area of Sydney, where the match was held.

All of the players sang along. They had regular practice sessions with Ms Fox before the match in order to learn the words and sing it confidently, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

The inclusion of the First Nations version has been commended on social media.

Australian athlete Richard Coleman said: “That is one incredible national anthem. As an athlete every time the Australian anthem is performed it should be done this way. I would love to win a gold medal and hear this playing loud and proud, so so inspiring.”

On Twitter, one user said: “So great to see the respect & acknowledgement of Aboriginal culture tonight. National anthem sung in the language of the Eora people as well as English for the first time at an international sporting event.”

There has long been a debate over the national anthem, “Advance Australia Fair”, which has been accused of lacking inclusive lyrics.

An organisation called Recognition in Anthem Project is campaigning for the lyrics to be adjusted to better recognise the country’s indigenous people and Australia’s values.

In 2018, a nine-year-old girl stirred controversy after refusing to stand for Australia’s national anthem in protest at alleged institutional racism. Harper Nielsen claimed the song ignored the nation’s indigenous people.

“When it says ‘we are young’ it completely disregards the indigenous Australians who were here before us,” she told ABC news Australia.

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