An online platform for First Nations storytelling, Koorie Heritage Trust (KHT) has launched KHT Voices: a curated space to hold stories of mob living through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Koorie Heritage Trust CEO and proud Torres Strait Islander man, Tom Mosby, said KHT Voices will enable an interesting perspective on the current times.
“[A global pandemic] hasn’t happened in many generations and hopefully it will not happen again, but what we are trying to capture is the voice of our people going through it now, because I think it will end up being quite a historically important time,” Mosby said.
“When people look back at how people coped during this time, instead of just having that non-Indigenous voice, we want to make sure the voices of our people are also out there as well.”
Mosby said whilst there has been significant information circulated about COVID-19, there has been limited exposure to the experiences of mob during this time.
“What is missing is that Indigenous voice … looking at our communities, and particularly our remote communities here in Victoria.
“Everyone is having the same issues of having to find toilet paper and not leaving the house, but how are we dealing with it as Indigenous people?”
KHT Voices brings together stories in all forms: essays, interviews, art and more.
“It is really however people want to respond. There is really no [select] format, we want to capture people going through this in whatever format.”
“One of the things we are starting to look at is the rise of TikTok as well, the use of that platform by Indigenous communities during this time is also interesting.
“So, whether it is sending us a TikTok video or whatever—if people are wanting to contribute, I’m happy for them to email us directly to our general email.”
Mosby said in the midst of this pandemic, technology is bringing people together.
“We are all now quite tech-savvy. I’m from the Torres Strait originally and catching up with my family every Sunday … this is family in Cairns and in the Torres Strait.
“The technology has been there, but this is the first time we are using it to keep in touch. It’s made this crisis we are all going through, [it’s getting] everyone online and up to speed with the use of technology.
“There is a lot of our communities out there now who can use these technologies to connect.”
“We have Elders who need to get up to speed with this technology so they can keep connected and not just by voice, but also to see somebody online as well.”
Whilst only Koorie voices are being documented right now, the platform has plans to extend its reach.
“We are looking at the moment at capturing our Koorie voices, that is the key to this online platform. But we are looking at expanding it out nationally, and our staff are keeping an eye out for any voices … internationally.
“[We are] looking at what is happening … in all our First Nation communities all over the world, because that global voice will keep it interesting as it will contextualise what we are going through.”
The first submission to KHT Voices is an essay by Claire G. Coleman. A Noongar woman with family roots in the south coast of Western Australia, Coleman has lived most of her life in Victoria. She’s won a black&write! Indigenous Writing Fellowship for her novel Terra Nullius and her essay for KHT Voices discusses COVID-19 and colonisation.
To view KHT Voices, visit: https://koorieheritagetrust.com.au/whats-on/kht-online/kht-voices/.
By Rachael Knowles