Tauto Sansbury was born on 2 July 1949 and died on 23 September 2019. He was a proud South Australian Aboriginal man, born on Point Pearce Mission on the Yorke Peninsula of Narungga heritage, with family links on the West Coast of South Australia. Tauto had more than 30 years experience advocating and working for Aboriginal people in all areas of Aboriginal disadvantage. He was deeply involved in the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, working with Elliott Johnston, QC, led both the National and South Australian Aboriginal Justice Advisory Committees (AJACs) for more than 10 years, both monitoring the implementation of the recommendations and ensuring that lasting change took place regarding Aboriginal incarceration at all levels.
He was consultant to the Social Inclusion Unit undertaking community consultations on the so-called ‘Gang of 49’ for the Breaking the Cycle Report. More recently he has been employed as CEO and General Manager in health and Aboriginal employment. He is widely recognised for his considerable knowledge and expertise in working for change for Aboriginal people and was awarded an Australian Centenary Medal in 2003 by the Commonwealth “In recognition of work as Director of the Aboriginal Justice Advocacy Committee and the National Aboriginal Justice Advisory Committee.”
He was also awarded Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Person of the Year, both National and South Australian NAIDOC awards in 1996 and
Male Elder of the Year SA NAIDOC awards 2014.
In 2015 Tauto received the National NAIDOC Lifetime Achievement Award and the 2015 Dr Yunupingu Human Rights Award at the National Indigenous Human Rights Awards. He was also a finalist in the Australian of the Year Awards (SA) 2016.
His qualifications included a Diploma in Youth Justice, an Advanced Diploma in Community Development, a Diploma in Financial Services and Certificate IV in Training and Assessment.
As well as running Garridja, Tauto was a passionate and committed advocate for Aboriginal people. He was also a Delegate to the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples, Chairperson of Aboriginal Family Support Services, Co-Chair of the Indigenous People's Organisation, Board member of Tauondi College, a member of the SA Museum Aboriginal Advisory Committee, Chairperson of the Aboriginal Sobriety Group and was deeply involved in numerous other committees and organisations working to effect lasting and positive change.
Tauto's passion for justice for Australia's First Nations peoples saw him call the National Freedom Summit in Alice Springs in November 2014, where Aboriginal elders, leaders and community members gathered to progress work on the serious issues facing the community. The National Freedom Movement was born out of the Summit.