It was wonderful to have Harley Eagle visit us in Perth in late January. His talks on decolonisation, cultural integrity, healing of intergenerational trauma, restorative justice and peacemaking were informative and deeply moving.
Harley’s talks created a bridge between the past and the present, and between Aboriginal and non-aboriginal people. His information brought a greater understanding of the colonist mindset and why racism exists in our world. Each one of us was invited into a deeply personal exploration of decolonisation as well as a collective healing journey. A list of additional resources and some highlights are provided below.
Highlights included the:
- journey back through time to see how the indigenous people of Europe were themselves colonised, and how unhealed trauma has created the reality of colonisation over time.
- collective impact felt when Harley explained how the Holy Roman Church used Terra Nullius to give colonists moral permission to violently colonise new areas. Terra Nullius declared that if people found in new lands were not Christins and their form of governance was not understood, then they were to be considered “less than human”.
- metaphor of racism as an iceberg where the top third of the iceberg visible above the water is just a portion of the systemic racism present in the world. This top third is seen in the individual conflicts that occur between people of different race on a day to day basis. The middle third of the iceberg, just below the waters surface, represents the institutions and structures that exist within our society with the implicit purpose of maintaining the status quo. The bottom third, the deepest, darkest and coldest part of the iceberg, is where belief systems are unconsciously conditioned into our children’s minds that they are either superior or inferior depending on race.
These are just a few highlights. Add your thoughts and feedback in the comments below if you would like to continue this courageous exploration.
Thank you Harley for sharing your time, knowledge and compassion. Thank you to all who attended for making the events deeply meaningful and informative. I hope the resources list below is useful and our new connections continue into the future.
Additional Resources on white privilege and deconstructing racism
Peggy Mackintosh White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack.
Tema Okun The Emperor Has No Clothes
Anne Bishop Becoming An Ally – Breaking the Cycle of Oppression
Dionardo Pizana and Karen Pace – Important Qualities of Authentic Relationships Across Differences
Shakti Butler Mirrors of White Privilege – Making Whiteness Visible, World Trust
National Indigenous Cultural Safety Learning Series Webinar – Deconstructing Racism Strategies for Organisational Change with Dennis McDermott and David Sjoberg