oral traditions are a means by which ancestral wisdom and cultural knowledge have been preserved and passed down from generation to generation. we are exploring an ancient and indigenous form of transmitting knowledge- by word of mouth and storytelling- as a tool to defend against the colonization of our memory. we are expanding the boundaries of orality to tap into abundant pools of memory, shaped by personal, collective and ancestral wisdom. orality is a medium by which we exchange, receive, and interpret information. it is boundless and infinite.
In Aboriginal worldviews, nothing exists outside of a relationship to something else. There are no isolated variables—every element must be considered in relation to the other elements and the context. Areas of knowledge are integrated, not separated. The relationship between the knower and other knowers, places and senior knowledge-keepers is paramount. It facilitates shared memory and sustainable knowledge systems. An observer does not try to be objective, but is integrated within a sentient system that is observing itself.
∆ Tyson Yunkaporta, Sand Talk: How Indigenous Thinking Can Save the World
restoring what we always knew to be that culture has taught us not to be – when we look over the collected bones of ourselves to gaze at what lays dying here, "what goodness....of human nature has been killed (by oppressive culture,) or lies dying here?" (clarissa pinkola estes)
As a member of the Seneca-Cayuga Nation of Oklahoma in the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois Confederacy), Amelia [Winger-Bearskin] told me in a conversation for DataBrowser that she was taught to think about storytelling from a decentralized perspective. Stories are entrusted to storytellers by the elders. But these storytellers are not meant to repeat the narrative verbatim; they are expected to understand these stories and, through them, reflect on what the community needs to hear at any given moment. This temporal gathering, both in and around a story, acknowledges the personal subjectivities always inherent in retelling. Only multi-authorship truly exists.
the system we call the archive is meant to record and preserve memories of a particular incident at a particular time. yet memories are not necessarily recorded solely at point zero of an incident. it sometimes takes a considerable amount of time for some people to be able to talk about their memories of the disaster and the reconstruction process, and their experiences may be transformed into something else in the future. such phenomena encourage us to consider how an incident is not necessarily about the particular moment in the past when it occurred, but also how, in certain instances, it expands to the present. in this sense, we can say that memories are perhaps still waiting for a future where their small voices will eventually be heard.