Interview with Rose O'Leary

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Video transcript: "In terms of the Anthropocene and ideas of the end of the world or apocalypse, many indigenous people of North America or Turtle Island take the stance that we have already survived one apocalypse and this is merely the next apocalypse to have to survive. It is not that climate catastrophe isn't taken seriously, it is that we have been warning of climate catastrophe for hundreds of years now. We were warning about greed and consumption at the advent of colonialism on Turtle Island, and we were warning that putting living systems out of balance would lead to catastrophe. So it's not that we aren't taking this moment very seriously, in fact I think we are some of the people on Earth who are taking it the most seriously, it's that we have been taking it seriously for hundreds of years now. Much of the discussion of Anthropocene and climate catastrophe takes on this apocalyptic feel, I think perhaps because non-indigenous communities feel as if they haven't survived something that feels that way.

Indigenous communities often feel as if they have been continually surviving a catastrophe or an apocalypse for some time now. Or that they have several waves and this is another wave to endure. So I think there is some hopefullness in that, not to take away from the gravity of the situation, but there is hopefullness in that we have faith that we will find a way to survive this catastrophe just as we have survived the catastrophes of colonialism and genocide. I think we are also in a moment of survival or survivance to use Gerald Vizenor's term, where Indigenous people globally, although my expertise is in Turtle Island specifically, feel as if we need to reach out and we need to reform bonds with the rest of humans on this Earth. In order for us to all embrace principles of survival first. And concentrating on the balance that we need, the equity that we need, in order for all of our generations to survive into the future."

Other interviews with Rose O'Leary

Related tags: Anthropocene, Story, Climate Change, Indigenous Knowledge,