‘Remarkable’ Aboriginal Elder dies
One of the oldest and highly respected elders of the Yindjibarndi people, Ned Mayinbungu Cheedy, died aged 105 on Sunday, April 1.
Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin has paid tribute to Mr Cheedy, calling him a remarkable Australian who helped improve the lives of Aboriginal people in his Yindjibarndi homeland and beyond.
Last year Mr Cheedy was awarded the prestigious NAIDOC Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to caring for Yindjibarndi law, culture, language and the future of his people.
Born in 1907 at Hooley Station in the Pilbara, Mr Cheedy became a skilled stockman and windmill man on the station before moving to Roebourne Reserve so his children could receive an education.
He spent years teaching young people about his country and the importance of education, became a lay preacher at the Pilbara Aboriginal Church and travelled across WA helping families affected by alcoholism.
Mr Cheedy was a cultural teacher, custodian and elder in his community for more than 20 years, teaching people about the land and its stories through books and films.
Anthropologist Michael Robinson who worked with Mr Cheedy on the successful Yinjibarndi and Ngarluma native title claim in 2003 said that because of the enormous knowledge of country and Yinjibarndi law, he was held in high respect by the Yinjibarndi people and many in the community and across the Pilbara.
He said he believed Mr Cheedy to be someone always deeply concerned about the wellbeing of his community.
A short message and image of Mr Cheedy was included on the Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation website Sunday night, saying: “We will carry on your work and your inspiration will always guide us.”
At the time of print, the site was closed for respect.
Mr Cheedy passed away peacefully in his home in Roebourne.