Cricket Australia and AFL say they will consult with indigenous communities and experts on allegations of Tom Wills involvement in indigenous massacres

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Cricket Australia has expressed “deep sorrow” for the grief of the Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders following evidence suggesting that cricket and Australian Rules co-founder Tom Wills may have participated in massacres of reprisals against indigenous peoples.

The AFL also acknowledged the revelation this weekend that sports researcher Gary Fearon uncovered an 1895 Chicago Tribune article that the author claims Wills spoke of about his involvement in massacres.

Wills’ father, Horatio, was one of 19 people killed at the new Cullin-la-ringo station in central Queensland in October 1861.

In the months that followed, a series of attacks by white settlers and indigenous police killed up to 370 Gayiri people.

Wills was quoted in the Chicago Tribune article, referring to a group of “good and true men” who set out on horseback to find the group of men responsible for Cullin-la-ringo’s death.

“If you’ve ever seen men go about killing, this is it. There was ‘Death to the Devils’ written on every face,” Wills said in the article before saying the group caught up with a bunch of people. ‘Indigenous.

“I can’t say everything that happened, but know that we all killed in sight.”

Wills also spoke of shooting down an aboriginal who he said stole Wills’ precious Zingari cricket jacket during the Cullin-la-ringo massacre.

Five years after his father’s death and the retaliatory massacres, Wills coached the pioneering Aboriginal cricket team of 1866, which would later become the first Australian team to tour England.

A statement from Cricket Australia said the organization was “deeply sorry for the grief this conversation may cause to Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders” and said its next steps would be decided by its National Aboriginal Advisory Committee.

“We are currently digesting information which has revealed evidence suggesting Tom Wills’ involvement in the mass murder of the Gayiri in the attacks following the Cullin-la-ringo massacre in Queensland,” the Cricket Australia statement said.

“We bear witness and are deeply sorry for the grief this conversation may cause to the Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders. We recognize and honor their elders past and present.

“This story is part of the journey our nation has traveled to understand and reconcile our collective history. We are committed to addressing the traumas of the past, to listening and to learning so that we can be better. We commend the researchers for their work. work and are eager to learn more.

“At the end of the day, it’s about fighting against who we are, not just as a sport, but as a nation. As an organization, we firmly believe that reconciliation is for all of us and that it is is the way forward and as a sport we are committed to playing our part in this pursuit.

“We will take the time to work with and be advised by our National Indigenous Advisory Committee, as well as other experts, to consider our next steps.

An AFL spokesperson gave the league’s position.

“We take note of the information revealed yesterday and the trauma associated with the historic events in Australia.

“We will now seek guidance from those familiar with the available evidence as well as from the communities that speak of trauma.”

Sports organizations urged not to “whitewash” history

The Victoria First Peoples Assembly also responded, urging AFL and Cricket Australia not to “keep trying to whitewash our history”

“Acknowledging and accepting the brutal reality of the invasion is the first step towards healing and creating a better future together,” said a statement from the Co-Chair of the Assembly of Indigenous Peoples of Victoria, Marcus Stewart, a man. scored by Nira Illim Bulluk.

“This is the importance of telling the truth.

“We must take into account the injustices of the past, fight against current racism and find ways to create a fairer future together. This is the purpose of the Treaty.”

“Whether your family has lived in Victoria for five years or 50,000 years, speaking the truth and the treaty has the potential to bring us together, but we cannot do it if our politicians and our institutions, including the AFL and cricket Australian, keep trying to whitewash our history. “

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