Aboriginal corporation defends man in wombat video

HUNT: The Far West Coast Aboriginal Corporation has defended the man shown in the controversial video as hunting for food.
HUNT: The Far West Coast Aboriginal Corporation has defended the man shown in the controversial video as hunting for food.

The Far West Coast Aboriginal Corporation has come to the defence of an Aboriginal man who featured in a controversial video involving the stoning of a wombat.

South Australian Police are performing an internal investigation after a video appeared online of an off-duty officer using a stone to injure a wombat.

However the corporation, which is the registered native title body corporate for the Far West Coast of South Australia, released a statement on Friday describing the video as showing a man hunting for wombat.

In the statement, corporation chairman Peter Miller said it was understood the wombat was shared by the man's family and eaten afterwards.

He said the video has continued to receive negative commentary which was unfair.

"We believe that the video should never have been posted on social media, but the practice it shows is consistent with traditional law and custom," he said.

"It is accepted that the video is distressing to many people who are not familiar with hunting native species for food."

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Mr Miller said under Aboriginal Customary Law a person is entitled to hunt for food but if someone was not hunting for food and killed an animal for gratification, then it was not considered acceptable.

He said the practice of killing and eating wombat had a 60,000 year history.

"The young man involved has not breached any traditional laws by killing the wombat, he is a native title holder and has native title rights to hunt for wombat, which has always been a traditional food source for the Aboriginal people of the Far West Coast," he said.

However, Aboriginal elder Patricia Gunter, who works as an interpreter/translator and cultural advisor based in Ceduna has expressed her shock about the video.

Miss Gunter said wombat was a regular delicacy for Aboriginal people in the region, however the traditional way for an Aboriginal person to hunt a wombat was with a spear, before cooking it and eating it.

"I was not happy with the video, he never went to an elder in Ceduna or Yalata and never asked if he could stone that wombat," she said.

"You do not stone the animal and make it suffer, it is not right and doing that in my community, he needs to pack his bag and go."

Alan Gunter, who is also from Ceduna and works as a nationally certified interpreter and cultural advisor across South Australia based in Adelaide, said what he saw in the video by no means represented traditional Aboriginal culture and appreciation for the land and animals.

"Everything I am seeing from stolen generation people is that 'it is part of culture' - that is false," he said.

"For them to represent those of culture, saying to brutally torture this animal and to say that it is culture, is offensive to those who represent culture personally and professionally.

"It won't be accepted by traditional people by no means."

Meanwhile SA Police are continuing its investigation into the incident and announced a final outcome would take some time to complete, with an update expected by early next week.