It wasn't a surprise. Indigenous people had long complained their voices hadn't been heard by successive governments, so much so that in 1999, Yawuru man Peter Yu, now Vice President First Nations at the Australian National University (ANU), took the advice of a local elder to take their message to the Queen.
"A very old senior leader said, 'You better go and see that old girl overseas ... because they call her name the wrong way over here,'" Yu recalled. The old man meant that the only time Aboriginal people heard the Queen's name was when they were arrested, Yu told CNN. "They felt that, given the community's respect for the Queen, her name was being sullied and her reputation being besmudged, and that therefore we needed to go and explain the situation," he said.
So they did.
Yu and an delegation met Queen Elizabeth for around 30 minutes in Buckingham Palace, and received a much warmer welcome from the monarch than either government in the UK or Australia, he said.
Today, Yu says views within the Australia's Indigenous community on the Queen are mixed -- as they are in most communities.
"There are strong emotions," he said. "And we are continuing to suffer the full force of the consequences of colonization. But do we hold her personally responsible for it? I don't," he said. "Who I hold responsible for it is the Australian government ... governments who deliberately neglected their duty of care. That's what I'm angry at."
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