Decolonisation viewed by the coloniser or the still colonised subject

What a deliberate path of decolonisation can look like to those who can’t or don’t understand what or why yet:

1. A spiritual conversion [even if our spirituality always did and still exists within us privately and quietly].

2. Cultural traditionalism, or a rejection of modernity [cultural revival isn’t a rejection of modernity but a way to find balance in a fast paced, sick world].

3. Political militancy [justified anger and grief, advocating for change].

4. The appearance of behaving or speaking a different “cultural language” to others — actually just a new confidence in cultural articulation that was always a part of your behaviours regardless.

5. A rejection of material, western values — actually a rejection of eurocentricity and White Supremacy.

6. Deliberate re-traumatisation [again, a processing of ancestral and cultural grief].

7. Faith healing [actually personal and spiritual growth, healing and transformation]

8. Delusion, fantasy, or mental illness [a colonial projection of normative values on the colonised subject]

9. A “search” — instead of a homecoming to your birth right.


Kathleen McLeod is a Tainui wāhine, anarchist and writer from Aotearoa. Kathleen lives and works on the unceded sovereign lands of the Jagera and Turrbal nations in Ahitereiria. Her work has been published in the anthology Chorus by Saul Williams, Banango Street, Three Word Chant, Sunlit, The Vocal, Cloudthroat, Burning House Press and Ruru Reads. She was a co-writer on the play Schimchong: Daughter Overboard, which premiered at World Theatre Festival in Meanjin in 2016. Her poetic mythology is concerned with ancestral grief and trauma, decolonisation, embodiment, healing and intimacy. This piece was originally published on Ruru Reads.


Photo by Matt Lamers on Unsplash