Saraeva Mitchell

My name is Saraeva Mitchell and I am a Gunggari woman, born and raised in Mitchell located on the Maranoa River, in South West Queensland.

"I presently work in Mitchell as an Aboriginal Health Worker for CWAATSICH (Charleville and Western Area's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Corporation for Health)."

Strong mind, strong spirit and strong body equal a strong and healthy community.

"We as Aboriginal people are born with death from the day we are born we attend funerals of uncles, aunties, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers and cousins. So much sorry business; it's time to make a change to the life expectancy gap for our mob. Our children learn what they live. We all have the power to decide the future for our own children simply leading by example."

Saraeva believes land stands at the heart of everything, from the land comes identity, how can you know where you are going in life if you don't know where you come from. Knowing who you are makes a real difference.

"I have had the pleasure of holding a few workshops with our youth in South West Queensland, teaching them the importance of connection to country by having them collect and make their own bush medicine soaps and creams."

"The waterways are very important to me. I call the Maranoa River the 'river of love' because it flows through the heart of Gunggari country; it is refreshing, cleansing and healing. Its banks are showered with the spirits of my ancestors, without its blessing I would have no source of soul. Sandalwood will heal my Spirit and make me strong (smoking ceremony); however river water will cleanse the soul, just as the rain cleanses the Rivers. We give life to everything by means of water and for me to live by the Maranoa River, is to live in the heart of love. I draw strength from being on country.

"My advice to the younger generation - today many break through the barriers of the past by looking at the blessings of the present".