Flip the Script on Colonialism and the Patriarchy
Week Twelve: Flip the Script on Colonialism and Patriarchy
Colonialism is the massive fog that has clouded our imaginations regarding who we could be, excised our memories of who we once were, and numbed our understanding of our current existence. ~Wazivatawin
Colonialism is defined as “control by one power over a dependent area or people. It occurs when one nation subjugates another, conquering its population and exploiting it, often while forcing its own language and cultural values upon its people.”
This is an old and a new story. Colonialism was practiced by empires such as ancient Greece, ancient Rome, ancient Egypt, and Phoenicia.
“Colonialism is still not a thing of the past. It continues to oppress developing nations and minority communities globally — from Western Africa to Libya, Palestine to Ukraine, to places like Kashmir that are facing subjugation under military occupation.” ~Columbia Climate School.
An in depth article about the climate crisis from the Columbia Climate School:
Colonizing is also expanding away from Earth with space travel focused on the planet Mars, a continuation of conquering, claiming land, resources, and disconnecting land and living organisms from their natural habitat. Colonialism and the patriarchy are still spreading.
I’m not saying that we shouldn’t explore space. I’m saying that any time you travel to another land, have respect for the people and the land spirits. Use consent. Walk lightly. And if you decide to stay, live there with an expanded perspective that you were not the first one there.
I have been studying ancestral lineage healing, since 2019, in a community led by Daniel Foor, and part of the ongoing training is a four-year cycle of monthly guest speakers from around the world. The region we are exploring this year in the Ancestral Medicine community is Asia and Oceania. The topic on Monday was Colonialism & Cultural Resilience, with guest voices from Samoa, Korea, & Australia.
As I listened to the voices of people on the Zoom call, the same themes came up that I have heard repeatedly from guest speakers in Europe, Africa and now Asia and Oceania. The clue is in the definition of colonialism: “control by one power over a dependent area or people…forcing its own language and cultural values upon its people.”
The disconnection from culture, language and tradition. Power over others. The disconnection from the land.
The feelings that always arise on the Zoom calls are a desire to change and fix the harm of colonialism and the patriarchy and ending with questions about where do we begin?
Growing up in the United States, I thought of colonialism as part of only our country’s history. It wasn’t until college that I began to read and study about world history with an expanded view of colonialism in all parts of the Earth.
Colonialism has shaped us all. Women and men of all colors and cultures. Our ancestors may have been the oppressors or the oppressed, racist or anti-racist, and so on… It has influenced us all.
When I started writing the series Flip the Script, I thought one of the first topics would be about colonialism and the patriarchy because it was the thing that was most on my mind. The question I have been asking myself is how am I continuing to perpetuate a system that I was born into? Where have we, as women and men, bought into a system and structure that is from a colonial-patriarchal mindset?
Writing for the past eighty days has helped me uncover layers of colonialism and the patriarchy in every topic. The clues have been there whether we noticed them or not.
Instead of losing hope and thinking that the only way through this is for an apocalypse to wipe the slate clean and begin again, what if we started to focus on where we can impact and change the system from within?
The first system to focus on is you: what thoughts and beliefs do you carry within you that are perpetuating an old system?
The second system is the family and community of where we live and work. What are you accepting as, “this is the only way” to do something?
Let’s begin this week with a willingness to consider that until we become aware of the layers of conditioning that colonialism has had on shaping our thoughts and beliefs, we are unconsciously perpetuating it.
My plan for the narratives and prompts is to uncover some of the threads and explore the subtle and overt ways we are participating in the system unknowingly.
Tomorrow, the discussion will begin with an outline from a workbook written by Kenneth Jones and Tema Okun called Dismantiling Racism: A Workbook for Social Change Groups. Written in 2001. The workbook is “a list of characteristics of white supremacy culture which show up in our organizations.”
Day 78 Prompts:
- Are you aware of the ways you have unconsciously perpetuated colonialism and the patriarchy? Sit and reflect on this and allow space for something to surface.
- With self-compassion, write about what bubbles up. Let go of your mind and notice the experiences and words that surface.
To read all 100 days of Flip the Script, go to Medium: https://andreahylen.medium.com/