The ILC’s staff and management were saddened at the recent passing of Kumanara Lester OAM.
“The Yankunytjatjara elder’s life and accomplishments should be held in the highest regard”, ILC Chair Mr Eddie Fry said.
“Kumanara was perhaps best known as one of the Aboriginal people impacted by British atomic testing in South Australia’s outback in the 1950s, soon after losing his sight.
His campaigning on behalf of those affected led to a 1984 Royal Commission recommending compensation and a clean-up of contaminated lands.
“But that alone should not define him.
“Kumanara Lester was instrumental in the struggle for land rights in South Australia and the Northern Territory, notably, leading to the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Land Rights Act, which granted rights well in advance of other land rights legislation, and negotiations over decades that saw the historical handover of Uluru-Kata Tjuta.
“Indigenous people and Australia as a whole have lost an important voice.
“The ILC extends its condolences to Kumanara’s family.”