The reconciliation movement is saddened by the passing of two great Aboriginal leaders; music legend Dr Jimmy Little and Yindjibarndi elder Mr Ned Cheedy.
Reconciliation Australia CEO Leah Armstrong said both men fought for the rights of their people in their own unique way and made an enormous contribution to the country.
“We were lucky enough to work with Uncle Jimmy last year when he was the face of National Reconciliation Week,” Ms Armstrong said.
“Involving him in National Reconciliation Week was our way of recognising his contribution to the nation.
“He was a great friend to reconciliation and will be greatly missed by all who knew him. “We send our love and sympathy to Uncle Jimmy’s family and friends who have suffered a terrible loss.”
Dr Little was a proud Yorta Yorta man who performed and recorded music for more than six decades. He was the first Aboriginal person to receive mainstream success in music and has long been an inspiration for other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander musicians.
In 2006, Dr Little established a foundation in his name to battle the alarming increase of diabetes and kidney failure among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Through the Jimmy Little Foundation he encouraged healthy eating options for young people and community groups and was passionate about closing the health gap for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples through education and self-empowerment.
Reconciliation Australia also passes on their condolences to the family and friends of Yindjibarndi elder Mr Cheedy, who passed away on Sunday, aged 105.
“Mr Cheedy made an outstanding contribution to the lives of Aboriginal people, particularly those living on Yindjibarndi country, in Western Australia,” Ms Armstrong said.
“He dedicated his life to educating young people about his culture and country and was a respected elder and traditional owner.”
Last year Mr Cheedy was awarded the NAIDOC Lifetime Achievement Award, which recognised his contributions to caring for Yindjibarndi culture, language and law.