Raised as a proud Mayili man, Samuel Bush-Blanasi has worked for decades at local and national levels to empower Indigenous Australians. He was recently awarded 2023 Northern Territorian Recipient of Australian of the Year in recognition of this work.
As Chair and Deputy Chair of the Northern Land Council, Samuel has been instrumental in securing sea country rights in Arnhem Land for traditional owners, and the incorporation in 2022 of the Aboriginal Sea Company (ASC). The ASC is the first of its kind and will enable traditional owners to oversee commercial fishing, aquaculture and other fishing-related activities along the Arnhem Land coastline. It will provide employment and enable Aboriginal people to manage profitable and sustainable fishing.
Samuel has also supported native title claims, recently overseeing the historic hand-back of the remaining half of Kakadu National Park to 14 clan estate groups. Nationally, he’s pushed for reform of the Australian Constitution, joining forces with Indigenous leaders to host dialogue and develop the historic Uluru Statement from the Heart