The Queen Has Died: Indigenous Leaders Reflect on Queen Elizabeth II’s Legacy and Colonialism

Indigenous representatives reacted to the death of Queen Elizabeth II by examining the legacy of her 70-year reign in Australia.

Britain’s longest-reigning monarch died on Thursday evening in Scotland at the age of 96.

Her legacy was complex, as shown by the emotional and varied reactions to her death.

Some critics have called the stolen generation and erasure of indigenous cultural identifiers part of the Queen’s legacy, calling her a “war criminal”.

“Today we mourn all the stolen, abused and traumatized lives that suffered and were destroyed during the reign of Queen Elizabeth II (sic),” the Indigenous Collective said in a viral post.

“Today is a cruel reminder that war criminals will be honored while entire nations and societies bear the battle scars of colonial genocide, invasions, religious persecution and white supremacy.”

That sentiment extends to communities around the world that are struggling with the Queen’s heavy legacy.

Macquarie University Indigenous Studies Professor Sandy O’Sullivan said discussion of the Queen’s impact on Indigenous life and culture should not be hushed up because of her death.

“For those who say we should be generous with the Queen’s passing, it’s a reminder that the Queen has repeatedly interfered with indigenous people here,” the professor said.

“She was not an outside observer of the consequences of colonization and colonialism, she was their architect.”

The professor said it was “outrageous” to demand respect from people whose lives were negatively affected by the actions or even inactions of the monarch during her long reign.

“It’s worth thinking about what could did—and did not—in order to effect change,” they said.

Professor O’Sullivan said it was important to hold a mirror before the Crown and the Queen amid praise and praise for her life’s work.

Green Senator Mehreen Farooqi took to social media to offer her condolences to those who loved the monarch, but said she could not ignore the negative impact of her rule.

“I cannot mourn the leader of a racist empire built on stolen lives, lands and wealth from colonized peoples,” she tweeted.

“We are reminded of the urgency of treaty with the native peoples, justice and reparations for the British colonies and becoming a republic.”

An indigenous activist from Western New South Wales took to social media to criticize the outpouring of grief for a monarch who she says is responsible for “murder, theft and total destruction of a beautiful way of life for so many indigenous peoples.”

“I will not disrespect my ancestors by commemorating the death of a war criminal,” she said in a social media video.

“It is unrealistic the amount of destruction that one family has caused throughout the country in which we live, as well as around the world.”

The famous artist Vincent Namatjira, who painted the Queen many times, told SBS News he was shocked to learn of her death.

“Personally, I would like to see the leaders and heroes of the indigenous peoples of the past and present enjoy the same level of recognition and respect as the royal family,” he said.

Many Indigenous people have taken to social media to question the decision to raise the Aboriginal flag at half-staff on the Sydney Harbor Bridge in honor of the death of a man who for many symbolized oppression.

CEO of GetUp! Larisa Baldwin, a Bunjalung woman, said she was disappointed that Parliament would not be in session for 15 days, when urgent issues need to be resolved.

“As an aboriginal woman, she is not my queen, but that doesn’t seem right for a modern democracy,” she tweeted.

The reaction comes as some leaders are already considering whether the country should sever ties with the monarchy altogether.

Greens leader Adam Bandt made a splash on Friday morning, when he shared his condolences and at the same time called for Australia to become independent.

“Rest in peace, Queen Elizabeth II,” he said.

“Now Australia has to move forward. We need an agreement with the indigenous peoples, and we need to become a republic.”

Read related topics:Queen Elizabeth II

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