Yuin perspectives re: Genocide | Obligation | Design | Sovereignty
Since the unlawful dispossession of Aboriginal lands and waters on the Australian continent and surrounding islands, we have been subjected to 230 years of continual genocide of our kin, our cultures and our Countries. Architecture and spatial design have been used as tools to facilitate these processes of genocide - at the core of which comes to the unlawful ownership and control of our Countries - often simplified to environment and lands. In order to not only counter the process of genocide - but to empower and heal our Countries and our peoples - we need to assert our sovereignty on our ancestral lands.
Tent Embassies have been an avenue in Australia for Aboriginal peoples to assert our sovereignty politically and spatially. As a Yuin woman, my understanding of this comes from my ancestral lands - with the Sandon Point Aboriginal Tent Embassy (SPATE). Set up in 2000, SPATE was established as a resistance to the proposed Stockland housing development which encroaches a 6000 year old coastal burial site within the Illawarra, about 80km south of Sydney, in the northern part of the Yuin nation.
I will share my perspective regarding what we can learn from small-scale community-based cultural resistance - and what role designers have in supporting to self-determination of Aboriginal peoples who are currently under colonial control.
Linda Kennedy is a Yuin woman from the South Coast of NSW, Australia. She is an architectural designer and design activist with a focus on decolonisation. Her independent design studio, Future Black, was established in 2017 as a development of her blog Future Black - Decolonising Design in the Built Environment.