thekooriwoman

Gomeroi. This is MY truth.

“Get Over It” On Colonialism.

The response ‘get over it’ I find, is a response given to many peoples various issues, issues most often centered around personal experiences, or empathy with others experiences. I have seen the term used in response to the Holocaust, depression, rape, wars, racism, sexism and lack of services among many other things.

I was told to get over it regarding colonialism and the impact it has created on the Aboriginal population of Australia.

My response to get over it? I am trying, everyday I try. And everyday I open my news browser, read my twitter feed, talk to colleagues and friends, and everyday I see the effects of colonialism being played out in large, small and micro ways. And everyday I am reminded that colonialism is not over.

So the short answer?

No.

I cannot get over it.

The long answer?

What started as a rather innocuous question I asked Dr Dennis Jensen – Why did you boycott parliament the day that then PM Kevin Rudd gave his, what will surely become historical, apology to the Stolen Generation?

I wont go into details, as these stories are not mine to tell, but I will say this. To deny the Stolen Generation did not happen, that these people do not exist, through some ridiculous legal posturing, is a slap in the face to every. Single. Aboriginal. Person who is living with the repercussions of having their family torn apart by a government who apologists will say were only doing what they thought was right at the time.

Dr Jensen then went on to tell me to ‘Get Over it’. To which I replied, Do I just snap my fingers and forget 213 years of oppression?

He then went on to ask me if I am in fact 213 years old, and then told me to Work out ways to maximise my own life experiences, as I can’t for deceased ancestors.

So in reply to your claim colonialism was 213 years ago Dr Jensen, I disagree, I disagree with a heart that is sore from watching and still feeling the effects of colonialism today.

I am watching in despair as a second round of what to me, and many other Aboriginals is the beginnings of another Stolen Generation in the Northern Territory, Queensland and New South Wales through the Intervention and Stronger Futures Acts.

It seems to me Dr jensen, colonialism is as alive today as it was 213 ago.

So as an Aboriginal woman, one of many I might add, what exactly am I supposed to do to get over colonialism and pretend like it never happened?

Do I turn my cheek on my black sisters who are getting their children removed from their care, for the simple reason they live in an area where there are no jobs and a Govt payment doesn’t even begin to cover the costs of clothing, feeding and sending 1 child to school everyday, let alone 7?

Do I ignore the fact that the reasons my Sisters and Brothers cant get jobs is because of the colour of their skin? The fact they have children, because they have obligations to other family members, be it Aunts, Uncles or Grandparents, and even Great Great Grandparents?

The lack of flexibility in your workforce is not my problem, but it is the problem in many cases. But some employers refuse to see this. They will still insist on 9-5. And in this day and age, 9-5 is the death knell for many workers. Black and white.

I asked a very good friend of mine to critique what I have written. He advised me to link to Dennis Jensens comments, what the mainstream media had to say in reply to those very stupid remarks from that very stupid man. I decided, probably stupidly, that my words alone would stand on their own in refuting his ridiculous remarks about colonialism.

The only people that think colonialism is over, are the people that are benefiting from it.

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7 thoughts on ““Get Over It” On Colonialism.

  1. janecat60 on said:

    One of the defining moments in my awareness of just how devastating the policy of removing children from their families was when Rob Riley, a West Australian activist took his life. He did so because, like you, he just couldn’t “get over it”. The unresolved trauma of being removed from his family and placed in institutional care, whilst at the same time being a public activist who was losing the fight, weighed very heavily and he reached a point where he could take no more. He felt let down by the political system who he felt had failed to deliver justice to his people. Tragically he felt like he had failed his people for not being able to shift politician’s thinking on issues such as the deaths of aboriginal people in custody and the trickle down effect of past racial policies and institutionalised racism. He was a great man, an exceptional leader and a devastating loss to your community. And all because people expected him to “get over it”.
    Much respect to you Koori Woman from JaneCat60

  2. Abdul Rahman on said:

    Thanks for sharing. Please keep writing.

  3. Keep writing, stay passionate, keep showing us your pain and your astonishing sense of humour. 🙂

  4. i am part of Sophie Mirabella’s constituency. I was so ashamed of her gutless actions that day. And was inspired watching you hold Dennis to account.

  5. I agree with you Koori Woman, colonialism has affected our people for many generations. Today I am not able to share with my children the beautiy of our culture our language and our traditions, as these were taken away from my people tow generations ago when my ancestors were told not to practice these anymore, better to live white ways.

    Stolen generations suffer long, loss of culture identity and family a distressing legacy.

    Thank you for sharing and giving people like me courage to speak out too.

  6. Charlotte Clarke on said:

    I’ve only just found your blog (through your mention in the Guardian today). I’m not an aussie woman (in fact I’m a white brit) and before today I really had very little idea what the reality is like in Australia for indigenous folks, so thanks for your whole blog – my feminism will be intersectional or it will be bullshit.

    …Also you have excellent taste in video games and music.

  7. Feminist on said:

    Thank you so much for creating this blog and sharing what must be such a painful experience. I’m an immigrant to Australia, and I couldn’t believe how comfortably racist practically the entire country was when I first arrived. You, and many other native Australian activists and writers, have really helped me to understand your point of view. Like Charlotte Clarke said, my feminism will be intersectional, or it will be bullshit.

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