The Individual: Western Liberal and Indigenous Australian Conceptions

17/11/2021

This is one of three mini essays submitted for a political science assessment. Given the limited word count and my struggles to adhere to “academic writing”, they’re likely not the best pieces, but ah well, uploading them for shits and giggles. This particular essay discusses a key difference between Western liberal thought and Australia’s Indigenous politcal thought, specifically the conception of the individual. Much more akin to branches of libertarian socialism than liberalism, Indigenous political thought realises selfhood through relational means, which is much cooler in my opinion.

Indigenous populations globally have faced longstanding oppression, not just of their people and their lands, but also their cultures, ideas and politics. From the United State’s culling of Native Americans and the invasion and takeover of half of Mexico, the genocide of Australia’s Indigenous peoples (including the entire population of what is now Tasmania (Brodie 2017)), South African Apartheid, and the current displacement and silencing of the Palestinians, settler-colonial societies have systematically separated native populations from what makes their societies. As we face the looming climate crisis and global pandemics, it is this old and not yet forgotten knowledge and wisdom that may help us.

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Australia Day: Triple J, MLA, and the Symbolic Smokescreen

07/06/2021

(The following piece is my essay assessment for Media and Society at the University of Queensland).

The Australia Day debate surrounding the “Change the Date” movement has generated growing controversy every year as we get closer and closer to January 26th. The aim of the movement is to move Australia Day away from the darker and more brutal aspects of Australia’s history, much of which sprung from the declaration of a British penal colony in 1788. Rather than a celebration, many dissident voices view the day as one of mourning, the beginning of an invasion and wiping out of the indigenous populations and their land and traditions. Much has been done in recent decades to cement the dominant hegemonic view of a celebratory white (and generally male) experience, including attempts to sanitise this image (Brooker, 2017)1.

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Media Hasn’t Really Changed: Colonial Tasmania

28/12/2019

I am currently reading The Vandemonian War by Nick Brodie. As always, when I learn more about Australia’s history involving the Indigenous peoples, I grow more and more disappointed with the shallow understanding that our education system throws at countless disinterested students. But I’ve written about that already, and there was a small point Brodie made about the press coverage that made me chuckle – rather cynically – at the parallels to today.

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Uluru Closure Is A Good Step

03/11/2019

But there is still much more work to be done. While preventing people from climbing the sacred rock is a monumental success that adheres to the wishes of our Indigenous population, I would hesitantly still consider it a more symbolic gesture than something of actual substance. I, of course, don’t mean to downplay the importance or significance of this victory that many apply to it, and it is possible – probable, even – that the fact I am not Indigenous myself plays into my opinion on the matter. It is just a single step in a much more complex issue.

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“Invasion Day” Protests Across the Country

26/01/2019

Protests were carried out across the country today, calling for the changing of the date of Australia Day from the 26th to something more inclusive. Of course, it made media headlines and caused a bit of a ruckus online. But is the date of the national day the issue worth protesting?

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Dark Emu: A Reflection

05/11/2018

A longer read than usual.

Engrossed by a history I had no (substantial) prior knowledge of, I put aside my usual leisurely reading pace to complete Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe, an Aboriginal writer. Published in 2014, I first heard of the book on an ABC comments thread on Facebook in 2017. The post was about Indigenous representation (I cannot recall the context), and I asked, out of genuine interest, what sources would be worth referring to so I could learn more. I got a few responses, with recurring mention of Dark Emu. I never ended up buying the book online, as I usually would, and I soon forgot about it. That is, until I found it in a bookstore earlier this year. I remembered the suggestion and bought it without hesitation. Although lost in the endless data of the internet, I would like to offer thanks to whoever brought it to my attention.

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