Victorian election: Lauren O’Dwyer claims Aboriginal heritage but Yorta Yorta nation refutes it

Dan Andrews’ star Labor candidate for trendy Melbourne seat claims she’s a ‘proud Yorta Yorta woman’ – but her family AND elders say she’s not: ‘I’ve looked at her genealogy… there is nobody’

  • Lauren O’Dwyer running for the seat of Richmond in the Victorian state election
  • Ms O’Dwyer has claimed Aboriginal heritage as a ‘proud Yorta Yorta woman’ 
  • But the Yorta Yorta Nation said they haven’t found any evidence of a family link 

The Labor candidate running for the pivotal seat of Richmond at this weekend’s Victorian election has had her campaign weighed down after questions were raised about Indigenous heritage. 

Lauren O’Dwyer describes herself as a proud Yorta Yorta woman – an Indigenous nation which traditionally inhabited the area surrounding the junction of the Murray and Goulburn Rivers near the modern day Victoria and NSW border. 

It is understood her claim to Indigenous ancestry is through her great-grandfather Graham Berry, but his daughter, Joan Keele, told the ABC this week that he had never claimed to be Aboriginal and his parents were not from that area.

Labor's candidate for Richmond Lauren O'Dwyer (pictured with Dan Andrews) has claimed she is of Aboriginal heritage

Labor’s candidate for Richmond Lauren O’Dwyer (pictured with Dan Andrews) has claimed she is of Aboriginal heritage

‘My father was not… Aboriginal. His father was born in Swan Hill and his mother was born in Richmond. So he’s nowhere near Yorta Yorta country,’ Ms Keele said.

‘We had a good relationship. We could chat about anything and everything, but (he) never, ever mentioned that.’

Ms O’Dwyer disputed the allegation and said she had the documents to prove it. 

‘I know who I am and am proud of my heritage,’ she said.

She does hold a Confirmation of Aboriginality certificate from the Njernda Aboriginal Corporation and not the Yorta Yorta, which is signed by elders Barbara Day and Richard Ronnan, The Age reported. 

‘It is hereby confirmed that the above named is of Aboriginal Descent, identifies as an Aboriginal and is accepted as such by the community in which they live,’ the certificate reads.

The Yorta Yorta Nation, of which Ms O'Dwyer (pictured) claims to be a member, said they can find nothing linking her to them

The Yorta Yorta Nation, of which Ms O’Dwyer (pictured) claims to be a member, said they can find nothing linking her to them

But the Yorta Yorta Nation Corporation said she has ‘no right’ to claim she is Yorta Yorta, has not consulted with them, and is not an active member of their community.

Chief executive Monica Morgan said they keep ancestry records and neither Ms O’Dwyer or Mr Berry was found anywhere in the 16 family lines of the Yorta Yorta Nation.

Ms Morgan said someone calling themselves a member of the Yorta Yorta people must have evidence of a family link and have followed cultural protocol by consulting with elders of the tribe – which Ms O’Dwyer also had not done. 

“I’ve looked at her genealogy and there is nobody’, she said.  

Ngerra Murray (pictured), a Yorta Yorta woman, said that someone running for parliament and claiming to be one of them should have consulted with them about how they want to be represented

Ngerra Murray (pictured), a Yorta Yorta woman, said that someone running for parliament and claiming to be one of them should have consulted with them about how they want to be represented

Yorta Yorta woman and Member of the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria, Ngerra Murray, said her community has gone through generations of struggle, hardship and protest.

She said that someone running for parliament and claiming to be from the community should have at least consulted with the Yorta Yorta Nation and asked how they want to be represented.

Daily Mail Australia has contacted Ms O’Dwyer’s office for comment. 

Source

Related posts