Uncle Jimmy Little and Ned Cheedy

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.

Paul House with gum leaves and smoke
Paul Girrawah House

Paul Girrawah House has multiple First Nation ancestries from the South-East Canberra region, including the Ngambri-Ngurmal (Walgalu), Pajong (Gundungurra), Wallabollooa (Ngunnawal) and Erambie/Brungle (Wiradyuri) family groups.

Paul acknowledges his diverse First Nation history, he particularly identifies as a descendant of Onyong aka Jindoomang from Weereewaa (Lake George) and Henry ‘Black Harry’ Williams from Namadgi who were both multilingual, essentially Walgalu-Ngunnawal-Wiradjuri speaking warriors and Ngunnawal–Wallaballooa man William Lane aka ‘Billy the Bull’ - Murrjinille.

Paul was born at the old Canberra hospital in the centre of his ancestral country and strongly acknowledges his First Nation matriarch ancestors, in particular his mother Dr Aunty Matilda House-Williams and grandmother, Ms Pearl Simpson-Wedge.

Paul completed a Bachelor of Community Management from Macquarie University, and Graduate Certificate in Wiradjuri Language, Culture and Heritage and Management from CSU.

Paul provided the Welcome to Country for the 47th Opening of Federal Parliament in 2022. Paul is Board Director, Ngambri Local Aboriginal Land Council, Member Indigenous Reference Group, National Museum of Australia and Australian Government Voice Referendum Engagement Group.  

Paul works on country with the ANU, First Nations Portfolio as a Senior Community Engagement Officer

Acknowledgement of Country

Reconciliation Australia acknowledges Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing  connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; and to Elders past and present. 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should be aware that this website contains images or names of people who have passed away.

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