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May 14, 2021

Living Decolonisation in Mullumbimby

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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.

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  1. What a wonderful thing to be able to use the tools of colonisation – the language, the education, the science, the law and civility – against those white men who still bring such suffering to coloured people. It’s fair enough that the disenfranchised get the goodness out of a bad situation. If only they could send those bastards packing back to wherever, they could live a peaceful and natural life once more.

  2. De colonise our bodies? I,m not having an enema, got it?. Just goes to prove that if you give an greenie a dictionary or buzz word generator they,ll by accident come up with a sentence that is syntactically correct but semantically drivel.

  3. This is a fantastic opportunity for those of us who don’t have a clear understanding of decolonisation to find out more. Some of the other comments make it clear there is quite a lot of misunderstanding. I didn’t understand it at all three years ago either. It’s better to find out more than jump to conclusions and judgements. Decolonisation is very evident in Hawaiian education and it benefits all students- both native Hawaiins and others. Open minds and willing hearts might make Australia better for everyone.

  4. Deconstruction – I guess that would be the light of the moon reflected in moving waters at night, or repeated sounds, sympathetic reactions. Let’s not get caught up in definition though. Dictionaries are just another tool of male, white oppression. Funny how these last three posts, roger, jon and boy, have happened within nine minutes of each other.

  5. Words should mean whatever we want them to mean. Opinions are all equal provided they pass the consideration of the Secretariat. Decolinisation therefore means reversing history, perfectly possible from a Physics point of view, where time travels in either direction. So the colonisers and the abs hold a similar point of view when one considers Dreamtime, the unification of past, present and future. Just don’t ask me to count in fives, it’s beyond me. I have trouble with the notion of nought.

  6. Oh, dear. If ever there was evidence for the need for this event, here it is. Thanks Roger, Jon, Shire Boy, William and Robot for furthering the cause!
    To comprehend the need for decolonisation, one must confront and understand colonisation: not only its impacts on Aboriginal peoples, but how it lives in non-Indigenous people, who it also harms.
    Indigenous scholars, leaders and elders have clearly articulated the position that Australia at large, all of us, can not be well and thrive until Aboriginal people are well, and thrive. This, in short, requires comprehensive decolonisation.
    I’m heading to the event to learn, to open myself to my own blinds spots, and I hope, to become an ally to all that decolonisation requires.


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