Anne Marie’s Story
My name is Anne Marie and I want to talk about the importance of connecting to culture and Country in the middle of a pandemic.
I have a daughter. Her name is Eden and she’s profoundly Deaf in her left ear. Eden has chosen to not have a hearing aid fitted. Nevertheless, being able to be heard and understood by the mob and the community that we live in is still really important to her because we’re not on Country (we are river people from South Australia and we have been living in Victoria for a long time). Having a hearing impairment, however, has a huge impact on her ability to connect with her mob.
It has been particularly hard since Eden has become a mum in the middle of a pandemic because she can’t sit on Country with the family that knows and understands her. This has hindered her sense of connectedness not just to Country but to her family.
Fortunately. Eden has been able to find ways to express herself in different forms through written word and art and storytelling. Through these means, she has been able to tell her story to her son and to involve him in the process of connecting to his history and family as a First Nations person, even though he is only four.
As First Nations people, being heard and being able to express ourselves is vitally important. Our connection to where we come from is fundamental to who we are as people, and in these times when we can’t get home and be able to just sit on Country, it is even more important that we have a way to tell our stories through creative means to connect and share who we are, where we’ve come from, and where we’re going. It’s part of the soul and the heart of who we are as people.
Our family lines stretch further than just our mums or dads or aunts or uncles. It is what connects us as a whole, as a community, and why we’re quite often very transient as mobs. Those connections are really important to our whole entire community, and particularly in these times, to be connected and to belong somewhere is very important.