Colonisation is a process by which a central system of power dominates the surrounding land and its components, in particular settler colonies. For example, the British settling in Australia who colonised the people who were already here.
As local Arakwal-Bumberbin woman Delta Kay puts it, ‘Colonisation is an insidious disease of the mind that allows for the endless justification and indiscriminate theft and extraction of anything of value from indigenous cultures in the capitalist economic world in which we all live.’
Decolonisation is a word creeping into our vocabulary, and as uncomfortable as it might feel, we all need to find out a bit about it.
An event to help raise awareness
To hear about subject the first in a series of conversations called Living Decolonisation, will be held at the Mullumbimby Civic Hall next week. The event is being put on to help raise awareness about the impact of colonisation on the unconscious mindset that affects everyone in this country. One that has very real and sometimes life threatening implications for many First Nation’s people.
‘We all swim in the murky waters of unconscious bias and systemic whiteness with its trappings of entitlement and privilege,’ says event organiser Megan Edwards. ‘These waters have silenced and masked First Nation’s peoples experience, history and message about decolonisation. They have also hardened non-Indigenous hearts to the reality of First Nation’s people and silenced non-Indigenous people to the reality of who they are beneath that paradigm.’
A panel of Indigenous and non-Indigenous educators who specialise in the field of decolonisation will enter into a conversation with each other and then the audience around the following themes:
How do we decolonise our political and social systems; our bodies, minds and hearts; our relationships with the ‘other’? How do we reimagine an Australia where the hurts of colonisation are addressed with the respect, honouring and humility that is called for? Educators leading the conversation include Indigenous speakers Amber Seccombe-Flanders, Marcelle Townsend-Cross and Ella Bancroft, and non-Indigenous speakers Daniel Foor and Soenke Biermann. All speakers live on Bundjalung country except Daniel Foor, who we warmly welcome from North America.
The call from First Nations People’s in Australia to decolonise has been loud, clear and consistent
First Nations people have been leading the field of decolonisation for many years. Marcelle Townsend-Cross who helped give the inaugural talk for this year at the Ngara Institute’s Politics in the Pub, is one of the speakers at the event.
Marcelle says that the call from First Nations People’s in Australia to decolonise has been loud, clear and consistent in recent times. ‘This call asks us to decolonise our social, political, economic and knowledge systems and it asks us to decolonise our very selves,’ she says. ‘This “Living Decolonisation” event is the first of a series that hopes to heed her call and help facilitate this process.
Living Decolonisation Events have grown out of a year long process of undertaking monthly Deconstructing Colonisation Dinners in 2018 with non-Indigenous people in Northern NSW.
Speakers at the first event are Amber Seccombe-Flanders, Marcelle Townsend-Cross, Ella Bancroft, Daniel Foor and Soenke Biermann.
‘Creating “Living Decolonisation” events, where we can listen to Indigenous leaders on decolonisation and have a cross-cultural conversation about this journey, is the next step in building broader social awareness about this issue,’ says Ms Edwards.
The event will be held at the Mullumbimby Civic Hall on Tuesday the April 2 from 6.30pm
Cost is by donation, with a suggestion of $10. April 2.