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Moore River Native Settlement

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  • Pages: 4
  • Word count: 904
  • Category: Society

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            I can no longer bear the pain of not seeing you and hurdling the sufferings here at Moore River Native Settlement. The people in charge here claim that we will be better off once we are integrated in the white society. Nothing is farther from the truth.

            Mother, the situation here is difficult especially for my sister and cousin because they are young in years and they still cannot understand why they are far away from their family there. I am beginning to accept it all but I am moved by the plight of most of us here who are treated in a most inhumane way. I cannot help but remember the wonderful times there and how this is all in contrast to that.

            Yesterday, everyone was in a bad mood. We were not allowed to eat dinner unless we got all their instructions well. It rained for the first time in many days and the three of us went out joyfully playing in the rain just as what we are wont to do there. Suddenly, one of the administrators yelled at us to go back in and change to dry clothes. We were made to scrub the floors and not take our dinner unless we scrubbed the whole place. That was not until the next morning. I thought my sister would die because she was gasping for breath and had no more energy to even walk to her bed. We had to carry her there and wait for our food ration the next day. Food, however, came in the form of leftover meat bones and a small piece of hard bread.

            Mother, we will all go back there to our own aboriginal home. That is where we belong. We do not mind working in the fields so long as we see you and our family everyday. Most of us here are hired as contracted labor. We will be given punishment at the slightest infraction of discipline, indication of poor health or violation of any rule. We really enjoy no job benefits. Some of the women workers have to wait long hours, without pay, for the arrival of food. If there are no fish, there is no work. When there are fish, workers must sometimes put in double shifts of twelve hours each. They wait four to six hours in between shifts at the factory, also without pay. If the operations terminate in the middle of the night, we are left to find our own way home in the dark. Anyone who is not willing to put up with these conditions can easily be replaced.

            Workers contract several diseases because of the heavy work and harsh working conditions. Arthritis, rheumatism, varicose veins, tuberculosis, pneumonia, swollen feet and back problems are common among the workers.  Workers complain that anyone who is sick and asks for time off is fired. We know of a teenager who began her job when the factory first opened and later contracted tuberculosis. The doctor she went to prepared a request that she be given time off to recuperate from her illness. Instead, she says, she was fired, told to go home and rest. She had worked five years for the company.

We thought that we will be staying home as domestic helpers ourselves since we are really too young to be exposed to work in the factories. But our masters say that we need to know how the other workers live so that we can be easily assimilated in the white society.  But the work is very harsh and tedious for our small hands and frail bodies. Mother, we cannot cope with these.  It is a hundred times more difficult than the chores we do there.

            We miss home. We miss you. We miss everything there. We want to go home in whatever way possible. Yesterday, I devised a way where we can go back to you there. I know now what we will do so that we can find you again and escape these hellish conditions. We will follow the rabbit-proof fence that bisects the continent and will lead us all back home there. Daisy and Grace know of my plan and together we shall carry this. I already discussed this with them in the middle of the night when everyone else is asleep. For days, we may have to walk until our feet give up on us, but our determination to go back there will be our wings to fly us nevertheless. It is this rabbit-proof fence that will guide us back to you Mother.

            May God bless us all.  I know that it will be a difficult and daring move on our part. But that is the only hope left for us. I am not sure if there will be others who will join us. But if they do, we will welcome that because we understand the sufferings they endure here. We are not integrated in a humane way in this society. We are still considered slaves and aborigine children who are unfortunate people who live with the harshest conditions imaginable. We shall tell you all when we are back. In time, we will be there. We shall carry this at dawn the day after tomorrow. We will see each other again. It will be like heaven.

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