Deathscapes

Perpetual Insecurity 2a - Settler Logics, White Supremacy and the Weaponisation of Mental Suffering

Deathscapes

Settler Logics, White Supremacy and the Weaponisation of Mental Suffering

[imagecaption] Uncle Robbie Thorpe holding Aboriginal passports at ‘Sovereignty and Sanctuary‘ (hosted by First Nations Liberation, RISE and WAR), Narrm, 2016. Photo: Charandev Singh. Also see event video. [/imagecaption]

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Settler colonialism is principally focused on a ‘logic of elimination’ (Wolfe, 2006), the symbolic and literal removal of Indigenous peoples from the land. Settler colonialism has been recognised as a factor in continuing Indigenous crises of ill-health and disadvantage. Historical loss, historical trauma and historical consciousness, as well as collective, intergenerational or multigenerational trauma are known to operationalise the impact of colonisation on Indigenous peoples (Paradies, 2016).

In 2016, 162 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people died as a result of suicide, this was at a rate of twice that of non-Indigenous people. Between 2012-16 intentional self-harm was the leading cause of death for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people between 15-34 years of age. Youth suicides, including of children as young as 10 years old, has been particularly devastating for affected communities.

The process of colonisation continues to traumatically disrupt sources of social and emotional wellbeing within cultures, communities and families, resulting in intergenerational mental health impacts.  White supremacy, racism and other forms of social exclusion have a deleterious influence on mental health. The weaponisation of mental suffering is one means to achieve the objective of the settler ideology: to clear the land and exterminate the Indigenous presence.


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