Decolonise To Thrive

by Alex Andrews

Ella Noah Bancroft is a descendent of the peoples of the Bundjalung nation and has bloodlines to England, Poland and Scotland. She is an Indigenous change-maker, artist, storyteller, mentor and founder of “The Returning” and Yhi Collective. Ella is also an active advocate for The Decolonisation movement and a Verve Super member.
Ella writes here about her own experiences in decolonising, how the process changed her relationship with consuming things, and how the process could help all of us to live more sustainably and thrive.

Colonisation is described as the action or process of settling amongst and establishing control over the Indigenous people of an area. We can see the ripple of conlonisation in all aspects of our society. White Supremacy, exploitation of our natural resources and genocide of Indigenous people, history and culture are some of the most destructive impacts of colonisation. 

Decolonising means retracing our own ancestral steps to find our stories, so we may bring them to the forefront, heal and continue our true purpose here on Earth. The Decolonisation movement is striving for simplicity and truth, a way of thinking that has been forgotten by a population burdened by busyness and complexity. 

This is a collective and an individual process. My process of decolonising seemed to make sense, given my mixed heritage identity. My bloodlines are to the Bundjalung nation and to Europe. I grew up thinking my blood was at war because of the history of this country. What I started to see through my process of decolonising, was that every one of us has felt the hand of colonisation in our bloodline. Every one of us has been continuously denied accurate information about how to live harmoniously with each other and with the land. Every one of us has Indigenous ancestors, even if they are not from this country.

It’s time to investigate where and how colonisation has affected each and every one of us personally.

At one stage, I was disconnected from my culture, numb to my body, to others and the world around me. I consumed large amounts of everything due to a lack of connection. I needed to re-establish my humanness. One of the first simple steps for me was reconnecting to my health. 

As I began to deepen my connection to my health, I began to regain so much of my power. Today, my way of living is if it isn’t natural I will not put it on or in my body. This takes me back to simplicity. A simple life, where we reconnect with nature — when you’re in that space, stop, be quiet and just listen even for a moment. In these moments, I find that a gift of gratitude is simply thinking of how blessed I am to experience the magic of nature. 

Returning to the earth in all her beauty, made me passionate to protect her, as I began to reclaim my relationship with nature, I felt a shift and a returning to my Indigeneity.

I started to be aware of what I was reading, listening to, and watching. This brought awareness to the potential motives behind media outlets and the content I was consuming. I started to live through only my embodied knowledge as truth, or the embodied knowledge of those I trusted and knew. I brought back my own rites of passage and ritual. I re-educated myself on peaceful existence, such as movement practices, spiritual practices and community building. 

Decolonisation demanded that I understand who humans were before Western agriculture. Indigenous people also engaged in agriculture, just a different, sustainable, form of agriculture. I considered how I could implement holistic solutions and traditional earth-emergent ways of life.

There a many ways to begin the decolonisation process. Through the body, emotion, our womb, language, our mind and the land – our most sacred kin. Here are some tips to start.  

  • Find an elder, either your parent or another person you admire that is older and wiser and can offer you support in times of need
  • Spend time in nature, as a result, this may help you to live more sustainably, 
  • Take notice in your life where you uphold the patriarchy including competition, non-stop work, and accumulation of wealth, and see where you can ease. My greatest triumph was when I stopped believing that success was linked to my monetary status and shifted it to be about my happiness. How successful are you? 

Each mind is shaped by personal experiences, beliefs, and actions. As a community, we can choose to shape ourselves. We can choose to free ourselves from those who take away our independence and make us dependent and helpless. This is decolonisation and the change starts with us. 

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