Nomo munanga, main kantriman (‘not a ‘white’ person, but my regional kinsman’)

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Title

Stephen Harris—Writer, Educator, Anthropologist




Kurongkurl Katitjin


Ngarritjan Kessaris, T. (2022). Nomo munanga, main kantriman (‘not a ‘white’ person, but my regional kinsman’). In B. C. Devlin, J. Kinslow-Harris, N. R. F. Devlin & J. E. Harris (Eds.), Stephen Harris—Writer, Educator, Anthropologist (pp. 33-46). Springer, Singapore.


Stephen Harris’s life, career and even his family’s history were bound up with Aboriginal people, my people. This chapter tells one of many stories of Stephen and his engagement with Aboriginal education, focussing on his role at what is now Charles Darwin University, in the early 1990s. It is written from a personal perspective as a student of his, and also as a colleague based in an Indigenous learning space in the university. It is also written from an Aboriginal positioning, informed by colonially ordered Black and White relationships and the ascendancy of whiteness in Australian universities. A key theme is Stephen’s visionary and strategic commitment to supporting Indigenous leadership and privileging Indigenous knowledge, and the methods employed to do so. A second and equally important theme, woven throughout the chapter, is the mundane, everyday expression of colonial whiteness in educational institutions and how, in varying degrees, the actions of Stephen Harris had the effect of disrupting, defying and displacing it by empowering individuals, and in multiple ways, supporting Indigenous identified goals. © The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2022.



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