Invasion day 2021: online learning for liberation

· January 26, 2021

Today is a day of protest and mourning for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. If I didn’t have disabilities that prevented me from doing so, I would have taken the day off work to join the Jewish bloc and marched in solidarity at the Invasion Day demo. That’s not possible with my chronic health conditions though, so I decided I didn’t need the time off work today. Instead, my conditions of employment state that I’m permitted to substitute one public holiday per year for a cultural or religious day of significance. So I substituted today’s public holiday for the second day of Pesach on 29 March. Pesach is a festival of liberation, when I will be celebrating, discussing, and thinking about how to work towards the liberation of all peoples, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

I’m thinking about liberation today too, of course. And since I was at work, I was thinking about the liberation of Australia’s First People’s in relation to my profession. Recent political events both abroad and here in Australia have demonstrated that white supremacy as a system that oppresses Bla(c)k and Indigenous people is as empowered as ever. Many of us in the information professions work in colonial institutions that are steeped in white supremacy. This poster on identifying and dismantling white supremacy in archives is a useful resource for starting to think about how to tackle structural white supremacy at an institutional level. Another useful resource is this group exercise on imagining liberation in archives.

And of course, there is the Indigenous Recordkeeping and Archives online training that was developed by the Indigenous Archives and Data Stewardship Hub, which is part of the Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education and Research, on behalf of the Australian Society of Archivists (ASA). I signed up for this training today as part of my ongoing commitment to learning and doing better in this area, both personally and professionally.