Indigenous Economics

Interview with Rose O'Leary

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Video transcript: "Many indigenous societies on Turtle Island were not organized around capitalist principles. So the idea of growth as some kind of a goal is almost antithetical to the economic and political organization of many indigenous societies. And it's in recognition of those practices that we have maintained since time in memorial, that if you are successful it is your responsibility to share that wealth with those in need in your community. And very rarely in pre-colonial times would you find a person in a position of power, who was also materially wealthy. It would be considered shameful for someone to hold office, for instance, or to lead people in any way and live in a way where they were materially wealthy. In order to attain those positions, one of the things that they would have to do is give away their material wealth to those in need and show that they were taking care of those who had greater need than themselves.

There is evidence that perhaps this is something that indigenous people on Turtle Island came to even prior to colonization. And felt that there was a need to maintain balance, and to maintain that balance by wealth distribution and also not to value accumulation above other things. Health, welfare, happiness were valued above accumulation."

Other interviews with Rose O'Leary

Related tags: Indigenous Knowledge, Growth, Care, Commons, Tactic, Decolonization,