Around a thousand people filled Townsville Stadium to farewell Bonita Mabo at a state funeral on Thursday.
The prominent First Nations educator, activist and elder died late last month, aged 75.
The wife of the late land rights campaigner, Eddie ‘Koiki’ Mabo, she is remembered as a passionate advocate for Australia’s Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and South Sea Islander communities.
Mrs Mabo’s grandson, Kaleb Cohen, penned a touching letter to his grandmother, who was affectionately known as “Nornie”.
Mr Cohen read the letter to his grandmother in her final days in hospital, and read it aloud at her funeral at her request.
“You are the reason I can walk with my chest out and my head held high,” he said in an emotional address.
“You are the reason I feel proud to be a black man in this country. You are the reason why no one will ever take away my culture, my heritage and who I am as a person.
“You have given me the gift to make others feel proud of who they are and where they come from – for this I am forever grateful.
“I’m so proud to say that I’m not just Koiki Mabo’s grandson – I am Bonita and Koiki Mabo’s grandson.”