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Indigenous Perspectives on De-colonial Futures — part 1

The Deep Adaptation Forum Diversity & Decolonisation Circle hosted a workshop called Indigenous Perspectives on Decolonial Futures facilitated by Dr. Yin Paradies an Aboriginal-Asian-Anglo Australian of the Wakaya people from the Gulf of Carpentaria he conducts research on racism and anti-racism as well as teaching and researching Indigenous knowledge and decoloniality.

Colonization is still happening now

Colonization has changed the face of the world and signified an annihilation of indigenous culture succeeding in largely installing a specific culture from the 16th century onward why? Because it significantly aided colonizers to spread out their empires quickly, grow profits and keep people in-check. The new culture was one focused on private property, using violence, crushing feminism — witch hunts — wage labor, privatization of profit and transforming private losses into public costs — bailouts.

Separatism between people and within people’s mind, body, emotions and an incessant pressure for urgency and self improvement — take control of owns life while doing what you are told — knowing your place.

It successfully promotes the denial of interdependence and vulnerability to the world completely denying complicity in violence and exploitation — “I am not responsible for the child labor involved in the making my TV, laptop, mobile phone…”

It created artificial scarcity manipulating demand, profit and promoting accumulation as an indicator for success. Think where we could be now if the measure for success would be how well we share our surplus instead of hoarding resources.

It installed hierarchy, encouraged individualism, rewarded exploitation and cut throat competition —a dog eat dog culture.

The ongoing commodification of people, time, places and resources taking what people are happy to do for each other and putting a price on it — killing the gift economy of sharing with your neighbor or those in need. Now everything can be bought in and delivered to your door — promoting disconnection. You no longer know the farmer, the corner shop owner, your neighbor. The disconnection may have started with colonization but has been taken to whole new levels today with the number of people living alone skyrocketing in recent years.

The values that have been elevated including comparison, judgement, condemnation and alienation cannot be more evident in the rise and dominion of social media, in cultures such as Ubuntu this is an alien concept and yet this is sought to be stamped out because if we are content then “progress”, the “economy” and capitalistic drivers would simply fail. There is much fear associated with failed economies as it creates instability and uncertainty — basically a vacuum in which the order of things as we know them disappears. In the absence of a culture based on solidarity, mutual help then darker forces come into play and these in turn are used as a reason to reinstate the exploitative state pre-collapse to post-collapse.

Truly cynicism, fear, anxiety, guilt, shame, greed, control, conformity, coercion, compliance, cruelty — these are all ever present in the western culture and some of these are outsourced to the global south where we don’t see it — makes disconnection easier.

“If I don’t see the children mining for cobalt for my smartphone then surely I cannot do anything about it.” >>>>> just a baseless self soothing untruth we tell ourselves

As the global south is groomed into believing the global north standard is the one to aspire to the poor and the hungry are forced to pay the price for upholding such standard. The system is designed to keep them poor because without the poor the “economy” would collapse as the maintenance cost would become untenable.

What do we do about this? — rushing in to find solutions

There are two schools of thought: fix the cracks and go on or rebuilding it from scratch. These world views drive investment but the bottom line is how is anything that we do bridging this great divide?

If we rush into changes without thought then what damages might we make worse?

Are we simply falling into the white savior colonialism pattern rather then starting with address our own issues around consumerism and fueling harmful behavior whilst self soothing with excuses.

Letting go of the ego

If we see ourselves as part of everything the way we live and make decisions changes dramatically, an interesting example that may feel common also in some western cultures is the ritual of expressing gratitude to the creatures who lose their lives to sustain ours, the use of the whole animal so that it may not have died in vain, the connection in the food system now in most “civilized” places severed to the detriment of us all. We have as a result of the severed connection made ourselves to believe we were more important, above everything and everyone else but in truth and in practice there is great reliance still on the web of life that sustains us. We are simply blinded to it by the ego.

Letting go of our own self importance is important, ongoing and humbling work —a kind of death within ourselves to become something new.

It is possible that navigating these personally challenging thoughts may lead us to the dark night of the soul and physical and mental discomfort triggered by conflict whilst doing regenerative work.

Engaging in relational rigor

What is relational rigor?

It is a feeling into how we process relationships like the river and mountain, the river flows from the mountain, so do we sustain ourselves from what is around us. It is a story of life embedded and visible webs.

The Bawaka collective is a great example of this:

“Ours is a story of lives entwined and of new places of co-becoming and belonging” said Sandie Suchet-Pearson, “It is also a collaborative narrative of unexpected transformations, embedded families and the spirituality and agency of nonhuman elements in, of and as the landscape.”

A method of loki — learning, remembering information in relational rigor way through making the mind a part of the landscape using symbolism, dance, ceremonies, rituals, moving through the landscape.

We have through time embodied violence in caring relationships “I am doing this for your own good” — leaves us stuck into this modernity. When compassion becomes violence, we lose the sense of self, a sucked dry feeling which prolongs pain as people convalesce more slowly.

The same with embedded coercive bullying “you made me do this…”

This is the first part of a two part series. If you have found this article useful and thought provoking please feel free to clap to make it more visible to others— you can clap up to 50 times.

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#permaculture practitioner, teacher and designer, co-founder of #ecohackerfarm, writer, project manager and activist get in touch mail@aimeefenech.com

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Aimee Fenech

Aimee Fenech

#permaculture practitioner, teacher and designer, co-founder of #ecohackerfarm, writer, project manager and activist get in touch mail@aimeefenech.com

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