The Aboriginal Histories lecture series with Elder Lecturer Robert Lovelace of Queens University gifted the listening audience with an insightful understanding of Aboriginal knowledge systems and how Aboriginal ways of viewing the world opens up fresh and creative ideas that can be applied universally: "Indigenous languages are embedded with interpretations of the world as seen by those who use them. Metropolitan languages like modern English, French, Japanese, Mandarin, etc. by contrast are constructed architecturally to express hierarchical ideologies. Understanding this difference is integral to recognizing the variance between Knowledge systems."
The following excerpt of Robert Lovelace's lectures was received by approximately 40 enthusiastic students following the Lanark County Reconciliation movement:
The first peoples' primary means of communication to express their belief systems of Respect and Sharing was reliant on the Indigenous oral language- the first people were true to their word. One going against his word lived without trust, mutual respect and responsibility. Individual expression, freedom in dance, drumming, song and story were and still are highly valued in the community. Indigenous people codify laws through ritual and ceremony and direct face to face contact was to pass knowledge and information along from generation to generation.
The focus on Respect as the quality of courtesy, consideration and esteem which extended through to their language and culture. Closely related to Mutual Respect is the principle of Sharing: the giving and receiving of benefits. Indigenous governance is dependent on consensus and leadership and is characteristic of strength, generosity and tolerance. Sharing must take a form that enhances, rather than diminishes, people’s capacity to contribute to the whole. Transfers that perpetuate relations of dependency, are not the long term solution, rather, the deepest meaning of Responsibility means actualizing through conscious and deliberate effort the principles of Mutual Recognition, Respect and Sharing. Responsibility does not mean taking blame...it means taking action. Sharing and reciprocity are important components of many Aboriginal world views.. Responsibility is demonstrated in working for the benefit of yourself and for the others who help to define you. Balance and reciprocity are the objectives and Indigenous laws correlate with natural laws and natural consequences.. (Robert Lovelace Aboriginal History Lectures).
Upholding the responsibility of being true to your word, and raising ones respectful awareness in communication in a non-hierarchal manner will depend on the practice and discipline of face to face contact with our fellow humans. Practicing face-to-face empathetic restorative communication (such as Talking Circles) establishes a reorganization of values and trust with the people present. Appreciating the simple act of mutual sharing of each own's contribution to the whole exemplifies balance and reciprocity.. This balance of respect is a cornerstone to actualizing our conscious efforts to re-establish community not only with each other but within our ecological landscape. Our efforts alongside time and patience establishes an equilibrium shift into a holistic governance that is based on a leadership in sharing strength, generosity, responsibility, mutual recognition and reciprocity.
It is time to take action and time to learn and understand how ancient practices within our local aboriginal history of culture can assist in our practice of Respect as a quality in equality, in courtesy and in consideration for all in need of a caring and sharing community.
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