The single biggest tragedy of colonisation has been to separate us from our sacredness. This, in the eyes of the state, in the eyes of the community, in the eyes of the system and its designers, and more grossly, when oppression has left little room for anything else, in our own eyes. Where Freire theorized it, colonial settler states and their inequitable systems that relegated Indigenous peoples and our life ways to the sewers and squalors, perfected it. The crying shame of our sister Dhu's death is not that it is symptomatic of a system not working but indeed the opposite - it is symbolic of colonisation working EXACTLY as it was designed.
Australia was built on the acceptance that there were no human inhabitants that existed on those lands. This desensitised mentality is continually enforced/ratified through the Australian government’s perpetual dehumanizing of its Indigenous people. Our whānau were deeply impacted by what happened to our sister Dhu and had this to say, “They ignored her pleas and denied her the same respect and rights a non-indigenous person would have received. A pure neglect of duty.” From one of our elders, “Those from the darkness will be returned to the darkness never to see the light again.” As a whānau, we recommend, a decolonization wānanga for all Australian government employees. Further, a ten point checklist, 1. Treat every person as if they were your mother, son, brother, daughter, sister, uncle, regardless of race. Repeat nine times.
Paora Crawford Moyle is of Ngāti Porou and Welsh whakapapa, a social worker of 25 years, and is a grassroots activist against the incarceration of Indigenous children into the care of the NZ state. Paora is also a PhD student and lecturer in the school of social work at Massey University.