Feature Story

Australian Indigenous Artist, Activist and Icon Archie Roach Dies at 66

Warning: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised that this article contains images and names of people who have died.

Archie Roach, a Gunditjmara (Kirrae Whurrong/Djab Wurrung), Bundjalung Senior Elder, has died at age 66 at Warrnambool Base Hospital in Victoria, Australia. Along with Kev Carmody, Archie Roach shined a light on racial injustice in Australia and the need for increased Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rights. His music told stories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, creation and suffering.

He continued making music and performing until the last few years when his health started deteriorating. He is one of the greatest singer / songwriters in Australian history. His song Took the Children Away told the story of Indigenous children being taken from the families and country as part of white supremacist Australian governmental policy. His ability to take large racial / governmental issues and ground them within human / cultural stories brought these injustices to light for millions of Australians.

Other well known songs such as: We Won’t Cry, Charcoal Lane and Down City Streets established Archie as an unparalleled folk talent in Australia. Archie’s sons stated:

“Archie wanted all of his many fans to know how much he loves you for supporting him along the way. We are so proud of everything our dad achieved in his remarkable life. He was a healer and unifying force. His music brought people together.”

Archie Roach is an Australian icon who will be missed and whose music will live on in Australian history forever. Archie’s sons have given permission for Archie’s name, image and music to be used, so that his legacy will continue to inspire.

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