Yindjibarndi leader awarded NAIDOC prize
Yindjibarndi elder, 105 year old Ned Cheedy of Roebourne, was awarded the most prestigious NAIDOC prize, the Lifetime Achievement Award at the national NAIDOC awards in Sydney.
His daughters Jane and Marion accepted the award on his behalf to a standing ovation, and with tears of joy.
Yindjibarndi people who have been learning about the foundations of their cultural and spiritual being at his side, have known for a long time that Ned is a national treasure.
Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation (YAC) CEO, Michael Woodley, said the whole community of Roebourne was thrilled by this honour for Ned.
“We are so proud of his achievement, and thankful for his life and his wisdom,” he said.
“This means a lot, especially in these times when FMG continues to disrespect Yindjibarndi as they begin developing the Solomon Hub without the consent of Ned and his people.
“The greatest award this country could give Ned would be to step in, and bring some respect and justice to the way this company is dealing with us.”
Ned is the most senior claimant now fighting for native title to the Yindjibarndi #1 Claim, which lies under the epicentre of FMG’s Solomon Hub, and it is his knowledge that crowns Yindjibarndi evidence of connection to this country and substantiates their claim for exclusive possession.
Ned’s leadership and counsel has been the cornerstone of the Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation’s stand against FMG’s ‘divide and conquer’ drive to quash all objections to their Solomon Hub project.
However, it is a despairing and withering fight that has troubled his old age.