Painting of a tree in the countryside with shrubbery around it and a blue sky behind
Image: Shade Tree, Sue McCutcheon

What’s your relationship to sovereignty and what’s your understanding of power?

These are the two hardest questions I am pondering as a facilitator at the moment. They are also the two questions that have most influenced my work since I first heard them.

To answer them, I’m currently playing with six questions.

My starting point is considering Who am I? and Where am I from? From there, I can consider How am I being in relation to... to humans, to non-humans, to history and place, to the topic I’m currently contending with, and so on.

I say I am ‘considering’ these questions, rather than ‘knowing’ because my answer – to who I am, where I’m from, how I am – is part fact and part contextual. 

How I answer the first three questions depends on three further questions: Where am I? (in time and place), Who am I working with? (human and non-human beings) and What are we about to do? (for and with whom).

As you read this, imagine I am sitting in front of you asking you these six questions. How would you answer me as a colleague? as a client? as someone from the community you most identify with?

When considering my relationship to sovereignty, here is my current and incomplete answer: I am a first generation migrant. I was born in Kenya and raised on the land of the Wadi Wadi and Gadigal people. I live in Naarm and work as a facilitator on the land of the Wurundjeri and Boon Wurung people of the Kulin Nation. This always was and always will be Aboriginal land.

— Lina Patel, Facilitator and Collaboration Designer
     Part of the team bringing you the Ethical Practice stream at SDNOW4

Read the rest of issue #46 here.