Vox Pop On Decolonisation

Just Voices did a Vox Pop on decolonisation. This is what we heard.

Adam Sharah is co-chair of ANFA- Australian Nuclear Free Alliance, Campaigner with Friends of the Earth QLD and student of Bachelor of Contemporary Aboriginal Art

What does decolonisation mean to you?

Decolonisation means liberation and freedom from colonial systems designed to oppress Indigenous First Nations Peoples.

What are some ways non-Indigenous people can actively engage with decolonisation?

I have observed that the conversation surrounding decolonisation occurring on this land is in itself defined by the parameters set by colonial structures, in that these conversations are primarily being driven by academics, often non/indigenous academics.  This is confusing for me, considering the core and central role western academia plays in colonial oppression.  If these conversations remain in the realm of academia inaccessible to the Aboriginal People on the ground who are impacted by colonialism, then these conversations serve to strengthen colonisation by advancing western academic structures that denigrate and devalue Indigenous knowledge whilst strengthening the white saviour complex that dominates western academia.
For me what is more powerful than resisting or deconstructing colonisation is to empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People to reform and construct Indigenous systems.  By Indigenous systems I mean systems designed, controlled, and administered by Aboriginal People for Aboriginal People.

 

This can be done in many ways, such as:

  • Assisting Aboriginal People to regain and retain their connection to Country- their Traditional Homelands.
  • Supporting Aboriginal cultural initiatives to rebuild cultural practices that reaffirm our cultural identity.
  • Supporting Aboriginal communities engaged in practical community-based programs designed to increase Aboriginal autonomy and self-governance.

 

Decolonisation is meaningless unless Aboriginal people can create opportunities to be the authors of Indigenous systems, systems that replace the oppressive systems colonisation put in place and restore Aboriginal self-governance.

 


Uncle Robbie Thorpe is a Gunnai/Mara elder from eagle and pelican tribes.

What does decolonisation mean to you?

Know where you stand.

Do you know the lore of the land?  Ever contemplated what that may mean?

This was a lawful place before colonisation.  It’s invaders that made it lawless. 

Decolonisation is a war crimes commission and a truth commission.

 

What are some ways non-Indigenous people can actively engage with decolonisation?

The opportunity arises once again here in Australia with the Stolenwealth games.  This is an opportunity for people who are struggling in this country, in a war that’s never been recognised and never ended, to expose this countries’ genocidal criminal history and Illegal occupation.   We are always waiting for International spotlight to expose these issues. Blackfullas target the international spotlight, because it’s no good talking to the government to resolve these issues.  That’s why it’s important. 

There is no treaty here, no consent and obviously no jurisdiction. It’s an ongoing crime scene from 1770 to this point. Australia remains a crime scene.  For this to change we need a resolution of the Black GST- Genocide to be stopped, Sovereignty to be restored and Treaty to be made.  

There is a fundamental legal issue of customary lore.

Australia doesn’t have a date to celebrate until the issues of genocide & occupation are resolved.

Stop talking, start doing. Pull down the statues, tear up the plaques. Recognise the lore of the land.   240 years back rent, compounding interest, damages and a war crimes commission.


This article appeared in our Just Voices magazine (issue 15, 2018) on Decolonisation and Indigenous Solidarity.

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About the author : AJDS