Decolonising Money: Colonial Impulses, Economic Autonomy and Systems Sovereignty

Contemporary global financial networks are imbued with the logic of settler-colonialism. The imperial accumulation of wealth in the Global North has shaped the financial discourse of the Anglocene and beyond, while Indigenous communities across the world work to survive and thrive in the face of is oppressive demands.  At a time when the economic status quo appears increasingly untenable, how can Indigenous knowledge systems provide strategies to resist the settler-colonial impulses of advanced capitalism? 

Moderated by Laurie McDonald, this session brings together Tjanara Goreng Goreng, Elise Klein, Megan Kelleher and Matt Scobie to discuss the complexities and possibilities of decolonising money. 

The session will be livestreamed at 10am AEST, Thursday 5th November at Following the event, the video recording of this session will be available for viewing on this page.

Laurie McDonald

Laurie McDonald is a Traditional Owner from the Ngunnawal Nation. She is an award-winning entrepreneur and community advocate, who brings a wealth of real-world knowledge about economic empowerment facilitated through the Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander business sector. She is Director of the Canberra Business Chamber, Chair of the Indigenous Business Advisory Council amongst other community contributions and Director of local business Canberra Furnished Accommodation.

Tjanara Goreng Goreng

Tjanara Goreng Goreng will use story & poetry to introduce audiences to the practice of Dadirri ( deep listening). A form of ancestral knowledge passed down by Aunty Miriam Rose Ungunmerr (AO) — an Elder from Nauiyu (Daly River) in Arnhem land — Tjanara will invite us to explore Dadirri as a way to re-orient our conversations and perspectives about money and collective wellbeing.

Elise Klein

Elise Klein will explore the settler-colonial impulses of state imposed Indigenous economic policies. Drawing on her research into neoliberal subjectivities, economic rights, and decoloniality, she will discuss the flawed logics and oppressive dynamics of government initiatives such as the cashless debit card. 

Megan Kelleher

Megan will share insights from her PhD research project, ‘Blockchain Mapping and Indigenous Knowledge Systems: Observations at the interface between distributed consensus technology and Indigenous governance’. In this project, she investigates how blockchain affects processes of governance and law, and whether blockchain technology can interface with an indigenous knowledge system – and conversely whether an Indigenous knowledge system can be used to guide the coordination of processes within a blockchain system. Grounded in her Barada/Baradha and Gabalbara/Kapalbara heritage, the research will be approached from an Indigenous standpoint, contributing to the field from an important Australian research perspective.

Matt Scobie (and Anna Sturman)

In Aotearoa New Zealand, Te Tiriti/The Treaty of Waitangi, signed in 1840 between representatives of the British Crown and representatives of autonomous Māori kinship-groupings, sets up two spheres of authority. These are kāwanatanga (government) and tino rangatiratanga (unqualified exercise of chieftainship). This creates possibilities for at least dual legal systems, and therefore at least dual economic systems. Responses to COVID-19 have revealed the enabling potential of this understanding based on a more authentic partnership between the Crown and Māori. Māori economies based on mana (authority/prestige) and tikanga (normative ethics) operate within, against and beyond a general understanding of ‘economy’ based on duties to protect. While the conventional economic effects from COVID-19 within the global capitalist economy has and will be devastating, the potential within Māori economies based on mana not money have huge potential for imagining and implementing alternative Indigenous economies.