Weaving land, life and justice within, through and beyond colonisation


– 16 JUNE 2020

Colonisation may seem like old history to many, however its intersecting legacies affect global power relations to this day, whether that be in relation to indigenous land rights, racial hierarchies, LGBTQIA rights, ecocide, ableism, approaches to medicine and healing to name a few examples. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the communities already experiencing systemic inequality have been disproportionately impacted and will continue to be unless radical change is actualised.  

In the first part of the GEN In Conversation series, Octaviana Valenzuela Trujillo, Wangui wa Kamonji and Camille Barton shared their lived experiences of coloniality, whilst unpacking the current opportunity we are faced with: to re-consider the path we have been on as a global community and sow seeds to create the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible. Creating a more just and equitable world will involve processes of decolonisation. Decolonisation is not necessarily a final destination but rather a journey involving multiple intersecting practices that enable us to acknowledge, heal and re-pattern the destructive practices that emerged as a result of the many ruptures of colonisation, that have yet to be addressed.

Video recording of the full event:

Audio recording of the full event:


Dr. Octaviana Valenzuela Trujillo

Octaviana V. Trujillo (Yaqui), Ph.D., is founding chair and professor in the department of Applied Indigenous Studies at Northern Arizona University and teaches courses on Tribal Nation Building. Professor Trujillo’s studies have been augmented through such activities as a Fulbright Fellowship in India, attending the Instituto Cultural de Guanajuato in Mexico, participating in study sessions of the International Institute of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, and the Salzburg Institute in Austria, as well as serving as a delegate to the international “Beijing UN Forum on Women.” She has travelled extensively internationally related to her own research interests, as a Kellogg Foundation Leadership Fellow, and in conjunction with international community development and human rights delegations in Mexico, Israel, Ecuador, Northern Ireland, Bolivia, Guatemala and Colombia. 

Professor Trujillo has been the recipient of a number of academic and leadership fellowships from institutions including Newberry Library, Rockefeller Foundation, Smithsonian and Kellogg Foundation. Dr. Trujillo has also served as an active national member of the American Friends Service Committee and Farmworker Justice, working to foster community-based resources for promoting social justice. As the first Chairwoman of the Pascua Yaqui of Arizona, she established the first tribal education department and secured funding for a number of seminal education and social services programs focusing on economic opportunity and cultural enhancement. 

A primary focus of her work now has been developing programmes that provide the use of her academic and human rights advocacy training to indigenous communities regionally and globally. Professor Trujillo’s international experience includes the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, EPA Governmental Advisory Committee, which helps to shape U.S. policies intended to improve environmental and health conditions of the United States, Canada and Mexico, and Global Diversity Foundation, which promotes agricultural, biological and cultural diversity around the world through research, training and social action. She was appointed by President Obama to serve as a member to the Joint Public Advisory Committee for the governing Council of the trilateral North American Commission on Environmental Cooperation.

Wangui wa Kamonji

Wangui is called to be a retriever and restorer of indigenous Afrikan lifeways and practices. She does this through research, dance, storytelling and facilitating diverse public spaces for critical consciousness and transformation. Her guiding principles are to reconnect to ourselves, each other, the Earth, and our unembodied spirit helpers to bring more life to all, through the wisdom encoded in indigenous Afrikan ways of being, knowing and doing.

She has a Masters in African Studies with Environment from University College London and a Bachelors degree in Environmental Studies and Urban Studies from Wellesley College, USA. She has undertaken independent and guided research-learning journeys in several countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia that have broadened her worldview and inspired her life and work.

Wangui is a trained facilitator in process-oriented psychology (process work) and has undertaken non-violent communication training and a permaculture design certificate course. She is hearth keeper and convener of the collective Afrika hai, which exists to research, reconnect to and reimagine indigenous Afrikan knowledge and practices, and convene spaces to share these, for the regeneration of the continent.

Camille Barton

Camille is an artist, coach and somatic movement practitioner, working on the intersections of wellness, drug policy, utopia and social change. Camille is the director of the Collective Liberation Project and the creator of a trauma-informed approach to diversity and decolonization work that centres the body and lived experience. This work is underpinned by ongoing research into somatics and social justice.

Camille offers movement sessions called Embodied Social Change that fuse somatics, dance and partner work to explore how oppression, such as racism and sexism, is rooted in the body, and how we can shift its hold on our lives using mindful attention and movement. She works closely with Release in the UK on drug policy reform and they sit on the advisory council for the MAPS Public Benefit Corporation, ensuring that MDMA Psychotherapy will be accessible to communities of colour. Camille has written for Vice, Talking Drugs and Double Blind on drug policy & racial justice.

Following this public event, we held two interactive workshops exclusively for GEN Members and GESA 2021 Shortlisted Candidates.

Workshop #1 (24 June 2020): Dance as pleasure activism: Visioning environmental regeneration through the body, with Camille Barton.

Workshop #2 (2 July 2020): Is there justice in the world? An introduction to regenerative justice, with Wangui wa Kamonji












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