As I write this from the Langford Office, I am reminded of the name of the mould-riddled building I spend so much of my time in — Wentworth.
As an Indigenous editor of Honi, one of the few in its history, it is (to say the least) uncomfortable for me to exist in a space named for a man who would consider me to occupy “the lowest place in the gradatory scale of the human species”; a man who once wrote that it was wrong “to attempt the perpetuation of the Aboriginal race of New South Wales by any protective means. They must give way before the arms [and] the diseases of civilised nations.”
When a nation is founded on a doctrine of terra nullius — literally “empty land” — then it becomes all too easy to ignore the people of that emptiness. We feel as though we don’t have to reckon with the treatment of Aboriginal people because they are invisible. Indigenous people become a postscript to Australian history. History becomes a hymn to whiteness.
Thus, this edition focuses on radical decolonisation.
In this edition, Nafeesa Rahman and Sandra Kallarakkal (p. 8) question the disconnect between tertiary Aboriginal education courses and secondary classrooms; Aidan Elwig Pollock (p. 7) calls for victims of the frontier wars to be memorialised; Wiradjuri activist Ethan Lyons (p. 16) explores the intersectionality of climate justice and First Nations justice. Further, Maeve Hopper (p. 12) interrogates the historical role of museums in perpetuating colonial values and Western superiority.
I want to thank and acknowledge Yuwi, Torres Strait and South Sea Islander artist Dylan Mooney for contributing their artwork to the front cover.
This is how we decolonise — by making space for empowered Indigenous people and tearing down the colonial constructs that bind us to our history and our suffering.
Our children should be learning about First Nations cultures and histories in classrooms.
Our frontier resistance warriors deserve a place on the Wall of Remembrance in Canberra.
I should not have to work in a building named in honour of a man who would want me exterminated.
This is not 1770 or 1901. This is not the First Fleet or federation. This is 2023. This is decolonisation in action.
We have a voice, our lives matter.
After all, we own this country.