For all of us, the past few months have been very uncertain and have created many new “normals”. Being asked to stay home and away from friends and family has been difficult but has been made a little easier by modern technology.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are at much greater risk from COVID-19. In 1919, the Spanish Flu killed 90 residents of Cherbourg in just three weeks. State and Territory governments, in consultation with Indigenous communities and in line with the Biosecurity Act 2015, nominated areas where travel restrictions would apply. Essentially this meant limited access in and out of these areas and travel restrictions, including 14 days isolation for anyone coming into the community.
I would like to share the story of Saffy, a Year 8 student, who lives in an Indigenous community. She explains how scary and different her lockdown was. Aboriginal communities have a deep sense of family and togetherness so being separated from generations was very difficult.
“We were all very sad to not be able to see the old people and they were sad to not see us. We couldn't go into Cherbourg as we were under the age of 18. Cherbourg had the army stopping people from going into it and if you needed to come to Murgon to get food you could only be out for two hours. High school kids couldn't come to Murgon for school, but the little kids in Cherbourg were able to go to school. My brothers, sister and I played lots of games inside and outside and at night we lit a campfire and slept outside in a tent - that was fun. We missed our family and friends every day and wished we could visit them like we always did. Everyone was very worried and scared of Corona after what happened with the Spanish Flu. I did love that I was with my family and we were together, being able to spend time with them was what I loved the best.”
Mrs Deb Mouzouris
Indigenous Support Coordinator