Privilege Check

Visiting the indigenous communities and bearing witness to the resistance against continued colonisation has been oxygen to the fire in my puku (belly) and also extremely heavy.

It has been unsettling and also a time of celebration of how the indigenous hold space and will not be moved by the pressure from modern-day colonisation.

I am practising silence through this program to allow the voices of the indigenous to take centre stage in my thoughts. I am learning that not everything needs a reply, nor does it need to be met with connecting parallels. Sometimes silence is the best response

It is complex in Brazil, where not only the indigenous communities were disrupted by the arrival of the Portuguese, but people were displaced from their tangata whenua and brought to Brazil to be enslaved by the colonisers.

We have visited the Afro-Brazilian Museum, which is strategically placed in the financial hub of São Paulo to hold space. A reminder to the capitalist and urban dwellers of the history of the African diaspora and slavery.

Inside the Museum was one of the waka (boat) that brought slaves to Brazil. An area that felt extremely tapu (sacred). Due to this feeling of maemae, I did not take photos. I did not want to post pictures of the torture devices and balls and chains that weighed the slaves down to be cautious not to desensitise and romanticise.

I find hope in humanity witnessing the way our Indigenous relatives live as one with nature. Tackling climate change head-on and ensuring we do not adapt to climate change.

I am drawn to the deity of ésú; he is the deity of giving and law and order. When I first saw his picture in the Museum, I was asked whom I thought he was. The museum guide was surprised I did not say the devil. He explained to me that Christians classified ésú as the devil. This was due to ésú giving people what they asked for. However, this only highlights that it is people who are evil; if they were good people, they would not ask for more than what they need and not ask for things that disadvantage others.

The learnings are making me check my own privilege. I am learning…

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