Reconciliation Australia mourns the passing of Chairman of the Northern Land Council, Dr Bush-Blanasi.
His skills and strengths as a passionate advocate for his people have left a legacy for Top End Northern Territory communities to build on. He was uncompromising in his advocacy for Aboriginal rights in the Northern Territory and across Australia.
He will be remembered as someone who did not flinch from telling the truth to power and was never afraid to speak up to politicians and bureaucrats.
A family man, he recognised the critical importance of women’s voices being heard and always supported policies which would benefit women and families.
He was an uncompromising supporter of the rights of remote Aboriginal children to be schooled in their own homelands to strengthen culture and connection to Country.
Dr Bush-Blanasi was a man with an enormous range of expertise and interests whose contribution spanned many areas of critical importance to his people.
He served on many boards including the North Australian Indigenous Land & Sea Management Alliance, Imparja, and Northern Building Consultants and was a founding member of the Association of Northern, Kimberley and Arnhem Aboriginal Artists, Aboriginal Sea Company, Aboriginal Housing Northern Territory, Top End Aboriginal Bush Broadcasting Association, and the Northern Territory Aboriginal Investment Corporation.
He played a key role in the fight for Sea Rights.
Last year Dr Bush-Blanasi was named Northern Territory Australian of the Year. It was in that capacity that he attended Reconciliation Australia’s annual breakfast for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander state and territory award recipients, where he was remembered by staff and directors as a man of warmth and good humour.
A proud father and grandfather with connections to Yolngu and Mayili Nations he will be remembered as a fearless warrior for his people.
Reconciliation Australia sends our condolences to his family and his colleagues.