Indigenous oral literatures contain a wealth of responses to this fundamental challenge of the human spirit. Oral histories, myths, legends, poems, epics, proverbs and sayings, songs, ritual chants, and more—speak of the sacredness of Mother Earth and how to care for her, so that she will care for us. It’s a story told in many voices—the Voices of the Earth.
Traditional knowledge is not just what to know about a place you live in; it’s wisdom about how to live in a place you know. This collective wisdom is vital for the survival and well-being of each and every human society and of all other species with which we share our earthly home. This is the very heart of the idea of “biocultural diversity” that Terralingua stands for. It reminds us of our inescapable interconnectedness and interdependence with all of life. It spurs us to fulfill our duty to respect nature and live in harmony with it. It warns us of the consequences if we neglect this primary duty.
Indigenous Peoples the world over are seeking to hold on or reconnect to their oral traditions, in order to maintain or rebuild their identities, their sense of place, and their ability to forge their own destiny and “walk to the future in the footprints of their ancestors”. There is a lot everyone can learn, or re-learn, from the wisdom of indigenous oral traditions. That is why Terralingua is at work to ensure that these traditions are not further depleted and that the living chorus of Voices of the Earth can still be heard loud and clear.
In the initial stages of the Voices of the Earth project, we are partnering with two Canadian First Nations, the Saanich (W̱SÁNEĆ) People of Coastal British Columbia (BC) and the Chilcotin (Tsilhqot’in) People of the BC Interior. We are providing small start-up grants to enable them to develop their own oral literature documentation projects. The resulting materials will contribute to their language and culture revitalization programs, educational curriculum, reconnection to the land and ancestral ways of life, and affirmation of their identity and rights. We will also provide training assistance as needed, and work with them for the long-term sustainability of these efforts. Over time, we expect to establish further partnerships of this kind with Indigenous Peoples in other parts of the world.
Visit the link below to review the full project website: