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Sad loss of Aboriginal Elder (Aunty) Ida West

Commission Commission – General

Wednesday, 10 September
2003

Sad loss of Aboriginal
Elder (Aunty) Ida West

Aboriginal & Torres
Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Dr Bill Jonas, today expressed
sadness at the passing of Tasmanian Aboriginal Elder (Aunty) Ida West, who died
yesterday after a long battle with cancer.

“All Australians
interested in social justice for Indigenous Peoples will be saddened at this
great loss,” said Commissioner Jonas.

Aunty Ida worked tirelessly
throughout her life in pursuit of social change for Tasmania’s Indigenous
communities, earning the greatest respect from the Aboriginal community, state
and federal governments and the broader community.

“Aunty Ida continued
to fight for the recognition and rights of Aboriginal Peoples and Indigenous
culture until the day she died.

“Her autobiography,
Pride Against Prejudice’ showed what a tough life she
lived as an Aboriginal person, but also illustrated how she overcame adversity
through compassion, courage and commitment.

“She achieved so
much in her life and her inspiration will live on for others to try and emulate.”

Aunty Ida’s achievements
were recognised earlier this year when she was presented with a National Special
Achievement Award at the National NAIDOC ceremony in Hobart. In 2002, she was
named the National Female Aboriginal Elder of the Year at the National NAIDOC
ceremony and was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM).

Media Contact:
Paul Oliver (02) 9284 9880 or 0408 469 347

Last
updated 10 September 2003.