Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, has paid tribute to community leader and respected artist Kumanjayi Granites, who passed away this week.
“Mr Granites was a proud Warlpiri man who dedicated his whole life in service to the community and his people,” Minister Scullion said.
“His commitment to helping others was shown early in life, when he chose to become a teacher and health care worker after leaving school – and he would soon become a senior lawmaker, cultural leader and icon.
“His standing in the community was reflected by his appointment as Chairman of the Central Land Council (CLC) from 1994 to 1996 and as a councillor for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission.
During his time as CLC chair, Mr Granites fought for the repatriation of sacred objects and was instrumental in the return of a number of objects held both in Australia and overseas during his tenure.
“But he was also a man of hidden talents. He started painting late in life, but his works would soon be toured around Australia. He was also an experienced interpreter for the Northern Territory Aboriginal Interpreter Service.
“Reflecting his dedication to the community and his people, Mr Granites was an ordained pastor and was completing a PhD in Indigenous Studies when he passed away.
“My thoughts are with his family and community as they mourn and grieve the loss of such a prolific man. Australia is a poorer place without him.”