Racism within Lateral Violence and Lateral

Racism within Lateral Violence and Lateral
Violence within Racism – An Aboriginal
Australian Perspective under the theme
Manifestations and Impacts of Racism
By Cheri Yavu-Kama-Harathunian
Director - Indigenous Wellbeing Centre Bundaberg
Elders Wisdoms Patron - Lateral Love Australia
Yavu-Kama-Harathunian 2010-2012© 1
What is Lateral violence?
• Lateral violence is the power and control used by
a dominating authority and individuals, to
disconnect and decimate a people’s or person’s
nationhood birthrights, to their spiritual and
cultural heritage, self and cultural identity and
‘sense of being’. This is done by means of
colonisation processes that ‘normalise’
institutionalised systems of violent intimidation,
manipulation and deception politically,
environmentally, religiously, legitimately,
governmentally and socially.
Yavu-Kama-Harathunian 2010-2012© 2
What is Racism
• Racism is the belief that a particular race is superior or
inferior to another, that a person’s social and moral
traits are predetermined by his or her inborn biological
characteristics. (Anti-Defamation League 2012)
• Racism against First Nations peoples, continues to exist
in Australia since settlement when Aboriginal people
were defined, by the first settlers, as less than human
because of differences in skin colour, language, culture,
customs and characteristics that were not similar to
those of the settler peoples.
Yavu-Kama-Harathunian 2010-2012© 3
Expressions of Lateral Violence
• You Aboriginal people NEED us non-Aboriginal people
to help to lift you up from your birth place = Welfare
related policies.
• You Aboriginal people do not have any understanding
of law, economics, religion, or governance = We nonAboriginal people have a divine right to show you and
teach you about yourselves.
• You Aboriginal people do not know who you really are
= non-Aboriginal researchers will help you to
understand that you are the most researched people
on the planet.
Yavu-Kama-Harathunian 2010-2012© 4
Expressions of Lateral Violence
• First Nations peoples 700+ names made one name,
‘Aboriginal’, a political and legitimate construct created
for settlers to identify and recognise ALL First Nations
peoples = cultural identity devalued.
• Aboriginal Law replaced by Westminster Law = made
Aboriginal ‘lore’
• Aboriginal languages were barred from being spoken,
taught and learned = English replaced the many and
varied languages spoken by different groups of
traditional peoples.
Yavu-Kama-Harathunian 2010-2012© 5
Expressions of Lateral Violence
• ‘Walkabout’ our ancient educational system was
dismantled by fencing and building of towns, stations and
missions. Education was taken over by government and the
• Access to ancient tribal boundaries, sacred sites, hunting
grounds and law grounds disrupted as land became a
commercial commodity = peoples spiritual connections to
sacred country disrupted, some groups took their
spirituality and Law underground.
• Aboriginal spirituality was demonised made out to be evil –
We were told that we were an animists people who
worshipped things and objects.
Yavu-Kama-Harathunian 2010-2012© 6
Expressions of Lateral Violence within Aboriginal Society
Family – decimated.
Religion – told we were animists.
Business – told we did not have any.
Arts and entertainment – ridiculed.
Education – savages do not have such
a system.
Media – cave, sand, body, rock
paintings misinterpreted.
Government - savages or sub-humans
do not have such a system.
Yavu-Kama-Harathunian 2010-2012©
Families and children removed to
missions, reserves and jails.
Spirituality was not recognised.
Barter and economic systems not
Stone age man art, corroboree and
other ceremonies not acknowledged.
Walkabout dismantled through
Bull roarers, boundary markers, smoke
signals and landscape traces
False belief about and rejection of the
mainstay of Aboriginal ways of
government and their practice and
adherence to Aboriginal Law through
Elders, Men’s and Women’s business
and initiation ceremonies.
Seven Principles of Aboriginal Law in
condensed form
1. All life, both animate and inanimate is sacred
2. Family, blood, kin and skin relationships maintain
our peoples
3. Caring and Sharing maintains equality
4. Obligation and Reciprocity maintains equity
5. Respect for our sacred lands expresses our Spirit
connect with all of nature
6. Spirituality keeps us connected to Creator Spirit
7. Culture is sacred and expresses our potential
Yavu-Kama-Harathunian 2010-2012© 8
Some Examples of Lateral violence
survival skills today
• Physical, mental, emotional,
psychological, economical,
personal, sexual violence and
abuse of self and others.
• Domestic and family violence
and family disconnections.
• Self harm and self abuse.
• Verbal violence and abuse.
• Alcohol and substance abuse.
• Lack of interest in spiritual
awareness and understanding.
• Control and enmity.
which leads to
• Internalised anger, conflict,
unhappiness, depression,
disregard for others feelings,
pulling down others, gossip,
personality conflicts, shaming
others, pridefulness, suicide
emotionally, spiritually,
mentally, psychologically, and
• Disrespect for self, disrespect
for culture, disrespect for
identity and disrespect for
• Abuse of land and ancient
• Big Shame.
Yavu-Kama-Harathunian 2010-2012© 9
Racism within Lateral Violence and Lateral Violence within
Racism – An Aboriginal Australian Perspective under the theme
Manifestations and Impacts of Racism
“Junjarin-nga dhar’guna yau’eembai’ya
ngoolam’bula dhar’kun yar war gow”
These are words from my Kabi Kabi cultural
heritage. They are words given to my people to
honour and bless others and they mean:
“May the spiritual forces of Mother Earth guide
and protect your inner self and truth”.
Yavu-Kama-Harathunian 2010-2012© 10
Further Information Regarding
Lateral Violence
Indigenous Wellbeing Centre - www.iwc.org.au
Lateral Love Australia - www.lateralloveaustralia.com
Join the Lateral Love conversation on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/178619712271513/