Decolonization as emotional work

The last couple of days have been a struggle. Not (merely) with respect to my language learning: in a much broader sense the black dog has been stalking me since Thursday. Yesterday (Friday) the fucker fairly chewed on me for most of the day…the nurturing salve of tacos for dinner didn’t have its usually healing effect.

Some of this is bog standard mood disorder shite. Some of it is work uncertainty (my realm is “in scope” for a service review (to be fair, I’ve managed to avoid ever having gone through one of these in career to date, so w000). Some is the less than stellar experience so far with my adventures in higher education about higher education.

But some of this is has been stirred up as a result of finalising my paper for the November Dublin conference. It’s laid bare a few home truths for my efforts so far with Irish and Māori:

  • my strong bias is towards digital learning activities
  • The more reliant I am on handwriting the less comfortable I am with the task
  • I feel more of a connection to Irish
  • I feel more of a sense of responsibility to learn Māori, as a settler in Aotearoa

No, not some generic white boy guilt…responsibility. New Zealand is my home. I live here. The impetus should be on decolonizing in this context. Intellectually I get that. It’s obvious.

And yet…my efforts have been heavily skewed towards Irish–even as I find Irish more challenging (eclipse this, lenate that, betches). Learning either involves emotional discomfort, but it’s more pronounced in Māori.



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