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Video: Exploring Identity

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Elder Gerry Oleman of the St'at'imc Nation in British Columbia explains what identity means to him.

Duration: 00:03:09
Published: May 25, 2021
Code: IRA1-V48


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Exploring Identity

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Transcript: Exploring Identity

[Elder Gerry Oleman] We can form relationships that are positive. As individuals in this country. As government this can be much tougher, because when you talk government to government relations, you end up talking about resources and boundaries.

[00:00:21] But as you and I as a human being, we can sit down and have a cup of tea and talk about things, you know, informally relationship. I feel that needs to happen. As you sat down with Jerry. Before he knew me, if you looked at me, you might stereotype me. But once you get to know me, you'll see my humour and my wittiness and my generosity and my compassion.

For human beings like, I've been raised in the traditional way and they are saying anybody called you for help, you go there and do your best. Anybody? Doesn't matter the colour or religion, or gender. You go help them. That's a culture or the way of life I come from, that's my identity. And I revive that identity and myself and I live it today.

To help, to form relationships with other human beings for the common good of our children, I have been taught that it's our responsibility as adults, it's to make life better for our children that are coming behind us. To make sure they have plenty of water, plenty of food, that they have purpose, that's our job as adults. That's the way I was taught by traditional people. They're saying, you know, seven generations from now, five hundred and sixty years from now, you think of your children having the water you are drinking, the food you're eating, the shelter you have.

So that's seven generations we were taught to think in generations, not fiscal years or five year plans. Seven generations, they call it 80 years of one generation. Seven generations from now, are our descendants to have the wealth that we have today. The safety. That's what identity to me is about. It's about the sameness that we become on the same page, to take care of Mother Earth to form positive relationships, to ensure the future that is sustainable for all the people that are here.

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