Home > What Could Possibly Go Right? Interview Series > Episode 23: Vanessa Andreotti: The Collapse of the House That Was Built Through Colonialism

November 17, 2020

Vanessa de Oliveira Andreotti holds a Canada Research Chair in Race, Inequalities and Global Change at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. She has extensive experience working across sectors internationally in areas related to global justice, global citizenship, and Indigenous and community engagement. Drawing on different critiques of colonialism and human exceptionalism, her research examines the interface between historical, systemic, and on-going forms of violence, and the material and relational dimensions of unsustainability within modernity. Vanessa is one of the founding members of the Gesturing Decolonial Futures Collective (decolonialfutures.net) and “In Earth’s CARE”, an international network of Indigenous communities located mostly in Canada and Latin America.

Vanessa provides her insight on What Could Possibly Go Right? including:

  • The analogy of flood and that it is only when rising waters reach your “bum” that we can swim; seeing the possibilities and relating to our surroundings differently than when water is at the knees and we still walk. The teachings from high stakes, high-risk struggles are very different from low-intensity struggles. 
  • The gradual disillusionment and dissatisfaction we’re experiencing, as we realize “our comforts, enjoyments, securities, and consumptions are actually based on violence and unsustainability somewhere else.” 
  • That there is difficulty, pain, and discomfort to come for many people to come; and “unless we develop the capacity to face this with stamina, maturity, sobriety, accountability, responsibility, and humility – we may end up in a very destructive place.” 
  • The understanding from Indigenous teachings that living well is not separated from dying well;  “not being haunted by pain but also seeing pain as an inevitable teacher in all of this.”
  • That we should declutter the distractions and addictions, especially of consumption; not only consumption of stuff but also relationships, experiences, critique, and ideas about the world as we know. 
  • That “this collective pain can only be held with collectivized hearts. An individual heart is overwhelmed by collective pain.” We need to shed individual arrogance and narcissism, and see ourselves as “cute and pathetic in this enormity of what’s going on”.  
  • That language is a living entity that moves the world. “By saying what we observe, but also what needs to move, we are moving it in many ways.”
  • The call for maturity in our young civilizations, for growing up, for showing up differently to each other into the world at large. 

About Vanessa Andreotti

Vanessa de Oliveira Andreotti holds a Canada Research Chair in Race, Inequalities and Global Change, at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.  She has extensive experience working across sectors internationally in areas related to global justice, global citizenship, and Indigenous and community engagement.  Drawing on different critiques of colonialism and human exceptionalism, her research examines the interface between historical, systemic, and on-going forms of violence, and the material and relational dimensions of unsustainability within modernity. Vanessa is one of the founding members of the Gesturing Decolonial Futures Collective (decolonialfutures.net) and “In Earth’s CARE”, an international network of Indigenous communities located mostly in Canada and Latin America.

Connect with Vanessa
decolonialfutures.net | ubc.academia.edu/VanessadeOliveiraAndreotti


Download the transcript here.