The late Aboriginal Rights pioneer, Eveleyn Scott, will be the first Indigenous woman to be granted a state funeral by the Queensland government.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Dr Scott's family had accepted the offer of a state funeral, to honour her life as a leader and champion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Evelyn Scott was the first General-Secretary of the Indigenous-controlled Federal Council for the Advancement of Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders and served as Chairperson of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation between 1997 and 2000.
She was a committed environmentalist who believed in stronger Indigenous representation in land and sea management. In the 1980s, she became a board member of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and worked tirelessly in the protection of the area.
Dr Scott received two honorary doctorates as recognition for her contribution to Indigenous affairs and community service. The first was granted in 2000 by the Australian Catholic University for work in the areas of reconciliation, the advancement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the advancement of women. In 2001 she received an honorary doctorate from James Cook University as an acknowledgement for her extraordinary service to the Queensland community and the university.
Also in 2001, she was lauded as Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia.
Dr Scott’s family have said in a statement that although the accolades she received were important to her, the recognition and friendship she received from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, particularly from the remote communities of Cape York and the Torres Strait, were more significant.
“Our mother was most comfortable sitting in the red dust or beach sand yarning with Elders and leaders of the various First Nations of remote Australia.
"[She] loved to fish and every day was a good day for fishing as far as she was concerned," the family said.
Dr Scott passed away in her sleep aged 81 and is survived by four daughters, a son and seven grandchildren.