juliet: Avatar of me with blue hair & jeans (blue hair jeans avatar)
It occurred to me after ConFest last weekend that I didn't see anywhere (on the tickets, on the programme thingy, anywhere else) any acknowledgement to the traditional owners of the land. This struck me (although I confess to not noticing it at the time), because that acknowledgement is something I have seen at most official/governmental establishments (including museums and suchlike), and also something I saw at Exodus, the other festival I've been to in Australia (psytrancery). There wasn't (as, again, there was at Exodus) as far as I could see (and I did look for this) any explicit involvement of the traditional owners. Given the hippy/alternative/etc background of ConFest, the omission surprises (and saddens) me.

This also links to my discomfort with what felt like not just cultural appropriation, but fairly incompetent cultural appropriation, at one of the workshops I went to[0]. Lots of banging on about 'traditional medicine wheels' and 'tribes' and 'Father Sun' and a whole lot of similar stuff. Now, I am aware that making assumptions about people's cultural/racial/ethnic backgrounds based on appearance is very dodgy, so yes, it's possible that the two leaders of the workshop were screwing around with their own cultural background. They didn't make any claim to that, though, and if that was the case, I still think they were doing it in a very dubious fashion. (It *sounded* very like random mix-&-match wet liberal hippy nonsense, with which I am depressingly familiar, and it didn't match up with anything I have learnt about the way the culture of the Indigneous peoples here works.)

Unfortunately, of course, this isn't that unusual; liberal/alternative/etc != aware of this shit. And when chatting to a couple of people involved with the organising co-op (about totally unrelated matters), I was struck by what seemed like a fairly aggressive attitude, and not all that much self- or other-awareness :-/ (Some of which I tried to challenge a bit, but, hm. With I think maybe limited success, and I'm not good at pushing, especially given the social context of the conversation.)

[0] I should note that I did actually get some useful stuff from the workshops; but I was uncomfortable with the way they packaged it up.

September 2017



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