In memory of Yami Lester

July 2017 saw the passing of No Dump Alliance ambassador Yami Lester. Yami was a Yankunytjatjara Elder, atomic test survivor, Aboriginal rights activist, father, grandfather and great grandfather, Yami's voice and support was key to the formation and successful work of the No Dump Alliance.

When the No Dump Alliance formed in May 2016 Mr Lester told his story to highlight the dangers of the nuclear industry. Together with his daughters, Karina and Rose, he spoke loud and strong against nuclear waste dumping in South Australia. 

We have lost a truly remarkable person and the Alliance will miss his leadership and strength.

You are welcome to leave a respectful tribute message below that will be passed onto Yami's family.

If your organisation would like to send a formal statement regarding this news please send to: info@nodumpalliance.org.au and it will be passed onto the family and shared on the website.

Tributes for the late Yami Lester

  • I remember listening to Yami during the original APY land rights struggle, during the investigations into the bomb tests and finally meeting him in Adelaide.

    Condolences to his family and friends.
  • We send our deepest loving wishes to all the Lester family. We are so proud to have known him – he was a dear friend and a constant inspiration over many years. Even after we came back to the Centre after years away he recognised our voices immediately. We will keep him in our hearts for ever. With love, John Hill and Jo Wynter.
  • I stayed with the Lester family in 1979 at Mimili and remember Yami’s remarkable strength of character. He shared with me his great love of the land, the protection of which has turned out to be his life quest. I admire him very much and send my condolences to Lucy, Leon, Katrina and Rosemary.
  • Deep respect and thanks to you, Uncle – rest in peace knowing your spirit of courage and compassion will continue to inspire others to stand up and speak out against injustice in the face of ongoing nuclear madness. My heart goes out to Rose & Karina & the whole Lester family – he must be so proud of you, a living legacy for a great man. Take care, hold firm, with love & best wishes, Philippa Rowland
  • Thank you for everything you have done in your incredible life Uncle Lester. You gave this white woman an insight to your world with your amazing words and I have learned so much from your perseverance, intelligence and strength. Take good care of each other through this difficult time Lester’s family. You must be very proud and sad at this time.
  • Dear Uncle, I hope you completed your circle of life with a happy heart and may you walk on well. Endless love and gratitude for all you did and gave in your incredible life. My heart goes out to Uncle’s family and loved ones. In unity, Carmel.
  • Condolences to the Lester family. Many are shaken by the passing of an amazing activist and family man but we will be inspired to continue his important work. Bless his travelling soul.
    Kathy Whitta
  • Such an inspiring story, a man with an amazing strength of character. I’m sure Yami’s legacy will live on in his family. Thank you for sharing your story and motivating others to stand up for our rights. Toni Scott, Kimba SA
  • Thank you Tjamu Lester, Yami, for your leadership, determination, courage and inspiration. You are with us as we continue to stand as allies and friends with Karina and Rose, all Anangu and all South Australian Aboriginal nations to protect country. Thank you so much.
  • Just Peace Qld sends condolences to Yami’s family and friends. Yami did so much to tell Australians and the world about the full impact of nuclear weapons on people and the land.
  • Just Peace Qld sends condolences to Yami’s family and friends. Yami did so much to tell Australians and the world about the full impact of nuclear weapons on people and the land.
  • Tjamu Lester, Yami. One of the great leaders, of Anangu and Walypala too. Such an important and palya man. Ninti pulka.

    To dear Karina, Rose and family: ngayuku kututu is tjituru-tjituru for nyura. Ngayulu ulanyi tjuta ilanytjara.

    Thank you Tjamu Lester, Yami, for your leadership, determination, courage and inspiration. You are with us as we continue to stand as allies and friends with Karina and Rose, all Anangu and all South Australian Aboriginal nations to protect country. Thank you so much.
  • With gratitude and warmth may I to extend my sympathy to the Yankunytjatjara People and Yami Lester’s extended family and all those whose lives he touched.
    His life-concert was one to remember and keep in our hearts.
    Love and Blessings.
    Celeste, a south-Australian, living in Vienna, Austria
  • Thank you Yami for your inspiration and work.
  • Deepest sympathy to the Lester family. His spirit lives on in you all.
  • As Sisters of Mercy in S.A. we offer sincere condolences to all the members of Yami Lester’s family in this sorry time. Yami was inspirational to many: he opened our eyes and gave us a new respect and reverence for the land. With all Australians we owe him a debt of gratitude for his courage, leadership and steadfast perseverance for justice.
  • Dear Yankunytjatjara People,
    Yami was the recent most valuable activist for protection of our environment and human rights.
    I have been following in his steps and i promise to always do everything i can to protect your land from becoming a nuclear dump as well as a target of other abuses against your people and land.
    I remain in deepest sympathy and debt to you.
  • RIP Yami. You are a great Australian and it was a privilege to have known you. My condolences and love to your family.
    Mike Harding.
  • Dear Rose and Katrina, perhaps you will not remember that some years ago at Survival Day, when it was still celebrated at Tandanya Park, you gave me a necklet plaited of the aboriginal colours and I have worn every day since then in memory of your Dad. It gets me into many interesting conversations in the street or in the bus, on Justice for Aboriginal People. Thank you for your ongoing courageous witness and example. With love from Roger Keyes.
  • Thankyou Yami Lester for standing so firmly but kindly against nuclear weapons, the nuclear industry. I am inspired by you to always take a stand beside Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples when they assert their rights.
  • I remember meeting Yami when I was very young. His spirit still inspires me. He lives on in you his family and in all those who continue to stand against what caused his blindness.
  • Thinking of you all at this time and sending deepest condolences, thoughts and strength
  • Condolences to Yami Lester’s family and friends. Your loss is also our loss. He was a courageous man and an important leader in the struggle against the nuclear industry. Love and peace to you in this very sad time.
  • I am very sorry to read of the passing away of Yami Lester; he was a wonderful, warm, remarkable man. I knew his wife who went to India with my friend Augustine Ulatil. I’m so sorry for the family’s loss but I feel that he has left the land a healthier place and I am so grateful to him.
    Best wishes. Liz Hobbs
  • Yami Lester is a great Aboriginal legend in South Australia.

    He was a Yankunytjatjara Elder, an atomic test survivor from the British atomic tests on the Maralinga lands in SA, the toxic effects of which caused his blindness, an Aboriginal rights activist, father, grandfather and great grandfather. He was a key supporter the No Dump Alliance when the Weatherill State Government attempted to make South Australia a nuclear dump for the world.

    Progressive Australians who work for peace, human rights, social justice and care for the environment will be saddened by his passing.
  • Blessing Yami thankyou for all you have done, you will not be forgotten and we know your spirit will be guiding us always.
  • Thankyou for your courage and determination to lead the struggle against the nuclear industry

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