Words Colin Herring
Passing through A maze leads us to a final door of the ‘fourth world’ that bathes in the Gaia of our living planet. Emotions like anger and revenge should be realised as another stalling device of colonisation to interrupt our diverse destinies. The intellectual cleverness of the Cree, Sioux, Hawaiians, Maori, Pueblo, Navajo et al. bring to the International Indigenous confederation their uniqueness through metaphor of door and winds. They share the experience of a repressive singularity that requires healing from itself. They each have language, dance and song emanating from their ecological niches.
Deloria (1973) perfectly captures the arrogance and stupidity of the anthropologist in ‘Custer Died for Your Sins’, a thoroughly entertaining caricature of his Navajo experience. His narrative style is the spirit of Navajo humour, transmitting much more than intellectual deconstruction. Slogans of ‘research’ paint pictures of people who don’t recognise themselves anymore. His dissertation of the anthropologist is hilarious. The mainstream fantasy manufactures a science of absurd stereotypes. Intergenerational issues over tribalism have the urban young reckoning the old have got it wrong. The Apache don’t attend the workshops that the Navajo youth frequent. Like the Yolngu the Apache are not fussed about imposed realities and cannot be manipulated. The Navajo youth find themselves distanced from their elders because they are fully immersed in ‘lands of make believe’. More white farmers are encroaching on their lands.
In only a few pages, Deloria provides a panorama of the Indian experience: religion, warriors, tribes, missions, wars, anthropologists, workshops and absurd theories about the warrior spirit being disarmed. Deloria views similar theories using statistics of the African-American parallax as Anglo-Saxon and stupid. The millions of dollars spent on research alone would solve any issue of housing. Deloria wonders about reciprocity and muses why the theory of ‘leaving us alone’ hasn’t yet been discovered—his research is unashamedly Indigenous. For a moment I was in direct Navajo conversation. Custard is not mentioned once in this very funny analysis.
Anthropology defines artificial norms that silences truth. The coalition of whiteness regularly displays its might to the rest of the world using ‘shock and awe’. Australia is maintained as the white-zone and a platform to ‘otherness’ (Asia). A very profitable industrial-military complex regularly displays its might. Identifying a ‘hegemony of Western whiteness’ as shaping ‘the future of the rest of the world (Moreton Robinson 2004, p78-79). As whiteness bathes in democracy, tolerating the multiculturalism of the US, Canada, France, Britain, Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand, an imperial gaze on the doorstep of the ‘Orient’ is observed. After the demolition job on the Middle-East and Northern Africa, we know who is next.
As definitions alter according to new research paradigms, whiteness still remains invisible. This failure to provide a self-analysis of racial profiling, whilst applying very debatable classifications to ‘otherness’ is captured in our current migrant and refugee policies. When John Howard said ‘we will choose who can come to our shores’, he is surrounded by white male privilege. The statement by Dutton to fast-track white South-Africans to Australia after twenty years of ‘otherness’ being incarcerated is mind boggling. The blatant hypocrisy is the blindness of whiteness as the norm of 2018. Indigenous intellect and realisation is generationally dismantled, altered, incorporated and funding halted when their cause approaches mainstream consciousness.
A white flag means ‘truce’ before the threat of mayhem. If we accept the white flag, we are playing their game—it is an intellectual confidence trick called diplomacy. It validates the Foucauldian concept of bio-power through fear of death prior to the vicious attack we know as the pre-emptive strike that was Iraq, Libya, Syria and Afghanistan through shock and awe. This tactic was applied in colonising the world, and ‘otherness’ is portrayed as treacherous and savage. The white flag of reason disguises the wisdom of the black flag, which with a white skull and cross-bones exposes the piracy of whiteness. Diplomats sent their pirates as agents out into the unknown (William Dampier, Cook, CIA & ASIO) to colonise. In accepting the white flag of reason, the invaders already know they have you beaten. Another flag is raised, of their total sovereignty.
This is as fantastic as the fabled Garden of Eden, where nature tempted the civilised through richness of resource. In exploiting, the original sin seeks forgiveness through the confessional of God. Indigenous values remain in that garden. The whiteness views our freedom as sin. So, in relating to my identity crisis and synthesising all that has come before in this article, I am left enquiring whether I should wave the white flag of ‘research’ before, for instance, the local Ngarrindjeri Nation. Where the mighty Murray River spews the effluent of the most populated part of White Australia’s anus; at that significant location where the sparkling melted snow and salty desert floods seasonally meet the sea informing the Coorong. I wonder: what is the real name of that river? What is the real name of that lake whiteness calls ‘Alexandrina’? Where exactly did ‘Ponde’ swim, forming a bend in that river? Should I worry about being a ‘Woorange’ or ‘Joobardi Corni’?
The Bundjalung incorporate the Bundjalarm (Butterfly) as fundamental to their world view. We arrive at the cultural interface as a grub (outsider) that fixates on a plant (research) specific to the cultural environment. The grub spins cacoon (coming alongside,) and transforms (chrysalis) into a butterfly (accepted – or initiation). The blue/white butterfly flies toward the Bunyah Mountains (walking together). This occurs about once every 4 years. All engage in the festival of the ripened Bunyah Nuts as a gathering of the clans. In contrast, the dominance burns the whole lot down and a virus is released to establish a global suzerainty. Welcome to the brave new world of 2020.
This article is an amalgam of privileging Indigenous voices.