Feb 21 PSN: Oral History and Decolonization: Reclaiming Stories and Ancestral Wisdom

Video chat: Tuesday, February 21, 3pm-4:15pm eastern time. Sliding scale; free for Groundswell members.

Eventbrite -  Oral History and Decolonization: Reclaiming Stories and Ancestral Wisdom

Indigenous-led movements like that to protect the water at Standing Rock highlight the power of ancestral wisdom in transformative change. As movement-oriented oral historians and practitioners, how can the process and practice of oral history help us root ourselves in the wisdom of our own traditions and ancestors?

This PSN chat is for people working and living at the intersection of oral history and decolonization, indigeneity and ancestral and cultural self-determination. And it's for folx that practice things like quilting, drumming, singing, dancing, tattooing, preserving creation myths, ceremonies, rituals, etc. Many of these practices have stories embedded within them that tell us about our ancestors' struggles and lives. These stories are food for our spirits and are essential for rooting our movements in a sense of identity that predates contemporary forms of imperialism and colonialism of Native peoples here on Turtle island or within the diaspora. Together, we'll explore how oral history is or can be part of the process of reclaiming these ancestral traditions and stories.


Shane Bernardo is a long-life resident of Detroit involved in social justice and primarily food justice issues.  His current role is outreach coordinator for Earthworks Urban Farm, a program of the Capuchin Soup Kitchen. Shane is also a member of Detroit Asian Youth Project, Uprooting Racism: Planting Justice, The People’s Platform Detroit and the Detroit Equity Action Lab. Having been born a few years after the rebellion of 1967, Shane grew up working in his family's small, ethnic grocery store on the west side of Detroit.  For 13 years, Shane's family helped cultivate a safe, nurturing environment for the South East Asian, West African and Afro-Caribbean community to purchase culturally relevant foods and share recipes, traditions and rituals linked to these foods.  As a result, Shane developed a heightened awareness of social, economic and political conditions within the context of a racially, ethnically and culturally stratified community.

Leyla Vural is an oral historian, writer, and editor in New York City and has worked in communications for social change, particularly in the workers’ rights movement, for more than 20 years. Leyla was recently the storyteller at a conference at the U.N. on sustainable energy for all. She is a member of the Field Research Team for The Civilians, which uses interviews to create original theater. And she is a member of the board of the New York Labor History Association, which is dedicated to remembering working-class history and using that history to inform efforts to make the present better. Leyla has an M.A. in oral history from Columbia University and a Ph.D. in geography from Rutgers University.

Eventbrite -  Oral History and Decolonization: Reclaiming Stories and Ancestral Wisdom