'Overused' indigenous ceremonies have worn out their welcome

Now a Welcome to Country at the State of Origin opener flares controversy as critics say it has lost all impact.

'Overused' indigenous ceremonies have worn out their welcome
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The Welcome to Country ceremony, now unavoidable at sporting events in Australia, has once again ignited debate following its performance at game one of this year's State of Origin series.

Performed by a local Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Elder to acknowledge traditional lands, the ceremony at Origin 1 in Sydney, led by Savannah Fynn, received mixed reactions as more and more people express their dismay at being 'welcomed' to their own country.

Controversial radio host Kyle Sandilands argued that the practice had become "overused and lost its impact."

Indigenous communities also expressed concerns about Fynn's selection for the high-profile rugby league event, watched by 3.4 million people. Former NRL players Dean Widders and Timana Tahu discussed the issue on NRL show Over the Black Dot, aired on SBS’ NITV.

Widders, who played for the Roosters, Eels, and Rabbitohs, believed the ceremony "missed the mark."

"As proud Indigenous men, it’s been talked a lot about, the Welcome to Country before the game... Unfortunately, what we saw in the Sydney Origin wasn’t that, and I thought that we missed the mark with it there and we’ve got to do better," he said.

Conversely, Tahu, a dual-code international, supported the NRL's efforts, stating:

"I think the NRL do a really good job on educating our football fans on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture... It’s the organisation’s fault for what they’ve done."

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