I purchased this Victorian-era wax seal recently, loving the sentiment. It reminded me strongly of living with a chronic illness, where betrayal can unfortunately feel all too common. Betrayed by our own bodies or minds, betrayed by doctors and systems and well-meaning people who are supposedly there to support us. It speaks to our tenacity that we can face those constant betrayals but not allow ourselves to be conquered by them.
Only after I made this piece did I discover that these words are unfortunately attributed to at least two British colonialist families: Traditus non victus is the family motto of John Hobart Caradoc, 1st Baron Howden and Governor of the Cape Colony in South Africa from 1811-1814 (the town of Cradock in Eastern Cape was named after him). It۪s also the family motto of Henry Dangar, a British colonizer of Australia. He۪s perhaps best known for owning the land where the Myall Creek Massacre occurred on June 10, 1838, in which 11 colonists brutally murdered 28 indigenous Kamilaroi adults and children.
I۪m upset that these words should be adopted by such terrible people, especially when they speak more to the experience of people who have had their homelands colonized or occupied. Because, like living with disability or chronic illness, living as a person of color under a government that exists to ensure your continued oppression is an exercise in being constantly betrayed by society.
I۪d love to see people wear this pendant with the aim of subverting its original meaning. May we reclaim these words to represent those of us who at any point have been considered to be an inconvenience to dominant society.
Made to order (allow 6-10 weeks). Also available in bronze.