AN indigenous tour operator has pulled out of Fremantle because he believes Dockers star Scott Chisholm is getting preferential treatment from a council-run Aboriginal centre.
Greg Nannup, who has run bi-weekly cultural walks in the port city for more than 15 years, says the effect on his business has been devastating and he’s ended up on anti-depressants as a result.
“Everything I have worked for for 15 years has gone,” Mr Nannup said.
His website says his family, which includes prominent elder Noel Nannup, have a connection to Wadjuk country stretching back thousands of years.
But Mr Nannup says they’ve never really seen eye-to-eye with the managers of the Walyalup Aboriginal Cultural Centre on Arthur Head, and had been assured Mr Chisholm wasn’t offering a product that would compete with theirs.
“Noel was told he was not doing a tour, and the council said he wasn’t running a tour, but go onto Eventbrite and what he’s offering looks like a tour to me,” Mr Nannup said.
“How this came to be is what I would like to ask the council.”
Mr Nannup said he’d previously discussed setting up a cultural tour with Mr Chisholm, but it didn’t come to fruition.
Mr Chisholm, who hails from the Northern Territory, pointed out he’d done the right thing and sought permission from the council’s Aboriginal reference group to run events.
The footballer told the Herald he wasn’t trying to steal Mr Nannup’s thunder and focussed on stories celebrating his own indigenous background, as well as his time living in Fremantle.
“I’m really highly ranked in our community for an outsider – for over 20 years I’ve been here encouraging culture, sport, love, life and surviving in the two worlds I live in as a sovereign man,” Mr Chisholm said.
“With what I do with my business, I follow protocol.
“Always did, always will.”
Mr Chisholm said he wanted to work with Mr Nannup to ensure their tours could co-exist, but Mr Nannup refused.
Fremantle council would only offer up a “spokesperson” to respond to Mr Nannup’s criticism, sayuing Mr Chisholm had volunteered many hours at the cultural centre before running his tours.
“Mr Chisholm has sought and received support and permission from local elders to assist in activating the WACC,” the spokesperson said.
“Noel Nannup was part of the elders group who met with Mr Chisholm and the City of Fremantle on August 24, 2018 where permission was given to Mr Chisholm to conduct his tours from the WACC with full permission of the elders group.”
But the elder Nannup says he felt that meeting had been “stacked” with Aboriginal people from a “Christian tradition” and he’d simply felt outgunned.
“That’s not how we do it, and I was quite disappointed with [mayor] Brad [Pettitt] for allowing it to happen,” Mr Nannup told the Herald.
The elder said there was a bigger issue, which was the WA Tourism Commission’s plans to boost indigenous tourism without a co-ordinating body to ensure future problems such as those being encountered by his nephew.
by STEVE GRANT