Intergenerational Learning

Interview with Rose O'Leary

[By default videos are displayed in low quality. Settings can be changed above.]

Video transcript: "One of the things that functions in many indigenous communities is that it's recognized that everybody will have something that they need help with, and something that they can help with. And so, in that there are those of us who maybe are stronger at communicating with outside communities and sharing knowledges. There maybe some of us that are stronger at communicating within our community and sharing knowledges.

There maybe some of us that are stronger at engineering, or house building, or sustainable gardening. And that is okay, not everyone needs to learn every lesson, not everyone needs to carry every knowledge, because in a community it is distributed. So when one member of a community perhaps has a problem, it's not theirs to bear alone. But that problem can be distributed and can be solved through community knowledge, through community strength. And if we start developing these sort of models in our everyday lives, that is another step towards decolonization and then also surviving climate change.

Now, climate catastrophe is inevitable and we do need to develop strategies for survival. And I think that we can look to this formation that is very common amongst indigenous Turtle Island communities, as a formation that can be replicated in almost any community. If we start to perceive ourselves as always being ready to help and always being ready to be helped. And also see it as a community responsibility that you will always give back what you can back into the community. So, for instance, I am not a physically strong person, but I have been recognized by my community as someone who is good at communicating.

And so, one of my responsibilities that I have carried from a very young age is I have been told a lot of stories, I have been given a lot of knowledge to carry. I don't necessarily transmit all of the knowledge that I carry all of the time to all of the people, but it is more my job to just be a person who remembers things; and then a person who helps to communicate across different communities, because it's recognized that I am good at that. However, my community also supports me in the ways that, perhaps I'm not as good at. And in that there is a system of balance, that replicates the system of balance that you're supposed to have with the rest of the Earth. You recognize that, you know, perhaps a plant isn't always able to get all of the water that it needs, so you help that plant. You recognize that if you trample a certain community of beings that you are upsetting that balance. And so, you need to be careful, you need to be mindful of that community.

And it is the same way with humans with their strengths, and their weaknesses, and their mistakes, and their successes. If we all share we balance the load, then we can have healthier communities that are more equipped to survive together, than individual nuclear family models that are increasingly less and less equipped to survive late-stage capitalism and catastrophic climate change."

Other interviews with Rose O'Leary

Related tags: Interdependence, Indigenous Knowledge, Commons, Story, Tactic,