The following are my top three blog posts that I’ve have written this year for the Archival Decolonist.
This was the post that started it all. I wrote it to articulate my frustration with white saviour-hood in Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums (GLAM) that would see itself as rescuing and saving First Nations culture, but would avoid discussions of their involvement in cultural destruction and denigration, colonisation and invasion. This self perception now currently informs well intentioned, but paternalistic thinking and actions in GLAM institutions that can hinder, not recognise and block First Nations agency in our maintaining, telling, and preserving our culture and history.
This post was in response to a First Nations cultural heritage object I saw on display at a museum where the label did not mention anything about the community where the culture was from or knowledge attached to this cultural heritage object, only information about the Non-Indigenous man who collected it. It just seemed so sad to me that we are not the focus of our own culture or history and that we continue the romanticised idea of European adventurer or scientist “discovering” First Nations culture. This label was just a continuation of the renaming and retelling of our culture and history that has distorted information and has allowed non-Indigenous people to claim ownership of First Nations knowledge. It is also sad because while this man on the label may be remembered for centuries, the First Nations person who created this cultural heritage object based on their ancestral knowledge, will be nameless in our records.
I wrote this post to get people to consider the diversity within First Nations communities and that we not a monolithic entity and that GLAM collections, discourses and history should reflect that.
Note: I do not claim expertise, these posts are just my perspective as a Wiradjuri man working GLAM. I write them as method to start discussions.
Bonus Round: my top 3 favourite tweets
This tweet was to challenge the idea of a non-Indigenous definition of what a real Aboriginal person is and to demonstrate the hypocrisy of centuries of forcing assimilation on us and then saying because we don’t know our language we are not authentic.
This was because I read about a First Nations community from North America where herding was part of their culture and the writer referred to them as nomadic and I thought no European culture is thought of as nomadic. Captain Cook’s travels didn’t mean he was nomadic and people who travel recreationally are not nomadic. This description of cultural practice of behaviour is part of the anthropological ideology that dehumanise us First Nations people.
This tweet was in response to a curator telling me that use of terms like invasion or brutality made them feel uncomfortable and that the use of different First Nations language without English captions was confusing and it made me realise how many GLAM spaces (as well as many other spaces) have White European settlers as their default audience and are created to comfort them.
Mandaang guwu (thank you) to all the people who read my blog this year. Y’all are deadly