DECOLONISE YOUR MIND
In the place now called Australia, the general interest in Indigenous peoples ways of being, doing and valuing has not been higher in the last 235 years. This burgeoning interest in Indigenous systems is a double-edged sword; sometimes a good thing can be done badly. Cultural training,
specifically the rush to training non-Indigenous people about the range of Indigenous cultures in Australia, is an example of this conundrum. This poor practice is understandable, given popular portrayals of invasion and the on-going colonial project makes it difficult for non-Indigenous
peoples, particularly settler-colonialist’s, to see the systemic nature of colonialism’s erosion of Indigenous ways of being, doing and valuing.
It is paradoxical to train individual’s in cultural awareness while the prevailing political, legal, economic and social systems seek to ‘disappear’ those same cultures. The consequences for the provision of cultural awareness services under these circumstances is that the training either
grapples with the legacy of invasion and on-going colonisations before getting to the cultural awareness element. Alternatively, there is the choice to not engage with history and consequent status quo, meaning that the associated cultural training can only be superficial and ultimately
We believe this conundrum can be avoided by “decolonizing your mind” before seeking to understand those cultures deeply negatively altered by colonization. Requiring settler-colonizers and other non-Indigenous Australian’s to develop an awareness of the ongoing influence of the
colonial project on systems and them as individuals is an important first step toward being prepared to meaningfully engage with cultural awareness training and, more importantly, work with Indigenous peoples and organizations.
Why decolonise your mind?
Can’t get good grip of another culture if have no awareness of your own.
Increased capacity to see, and respond to other ways of being, doing and valuing.
To consider ‘Australia’s’ history from different perspectives.
Why a series of workshops?
Give time to think/work through each topic, all are a bit heavy going.
Help foster group dynamic that supports the (mostly emotional) work to be done.
Time to do homework.
Develop confidence and skills in working with respectfully and effectively with First Nation groups.
Knowledge and understandings to support development of less ‘race-blind’ policy, or at least understand why need to develop such policy
The program consists of four two-hour workshops, with each workshop
a fortnight/month apart. Participants need to commit to attending all the workshops. Readings will be provided before each workshop and a reference list at the end of the series. Time between each workshop allows time for the readings, activities and reflection. At least one (1) workshop will be held ‘on-country’ led by a local traditional custodian. The remaining workshops will be facilitated by one Indigenous and one non-Indigenous person.
Each workshop covers one of four areas:
- white privilege and white fragility
- allyship –accomplice –co-conspirator
- positionality statements/identity maps
- truth telling
It is likely that participants will be confronted and challenged throughout the process. However, for those who participate in an open, genuine manner profound shifts in understanding, of both the impact of colonization and themselves, are likely. Those completing the workshop series will be better equipped to engage in cultural awareness training and the complexity of working with communities, systems and people damaged by colonialism.
MEET THE TEAM
Session One - White Privilege and White fragility
This session, founded in the recognition that societal power dynamics, structures and institutions perpetuate the white supremacy framework, focusses on two specific resultant behaviours: white privilege and white fragility. Addressing white privilege and white fragility is essential to understanding, identifying and addressing systemic racism.
Session Two - Allyship – Accomplice – Co-conspirator continuum
Building on the first workshop, this session helps participants identify where they currently are, and where they might like to be, on the allyship-accomplice-co-conspirator continuum of solidarity with Indigenous peoples. Essentially these terms refer to different levels ofengagement with Indigenous communities and nature of participation.
Session Three - Positionality Statements
Positionality statements are self-reflexive exercise that allow acknowledgement of personalbiases and reflection on how they may influence the conduct or priorities of a research project, community consultation process or policy development. Positionality statements could also be used to recognise any conflicts of interest arising from engaging with the community due to cultural or political differences.
Session Four - On Country, Ngunnawal Voices, truth-telling
Truth-telling by First Nations People is vital for non-Indigenous peoples understand their lived experiences and our shared history. It is crucial to ensure that Ngunnawal stories, knowledge, and culture are not ignored, whitewashed or forgotten over time. This session will be led by a local traditional custodian who will share personal and family experiences of colonization.
For questions and clarifications, please reach out to the Project Manager:
043 4518 200
Creative Director of Sullivan's Trail, founded Create and Sow in 2014 to inspire, nurture, challenge, amaze, educate and empower communities, artists and audiences. Create an idea and sow a seed that will grow and enrich the community. Nicola has delivered arts based projects with communities living with mental health and disabilities, migrate women’s groups, youth groups.
Kate Harriden, Wiradyuri.
Research Fellow – Indigenous Water, Monash Sustainable Development Institute, Monash University, PhD scholar of the Fenner School of Environment & Society, ANU. Her research incorporates Indigenous water science to modify the form and function of urban storm water channels and has a community engagement element. Kate has presented her research in a number of forums, including community meetings, ABC radio, catchment network meetings and in a variety of publications.