Somehow 3 weeks have passed since I attended an Oral History Workshop at the Gabriel Dumont Institute in Saskatoon. Does this indicate how quickly time passes, that I was absorbed in other things or I procrastinated? It is in fact a statement of the times we live in. Maybe too busy but actually I felt I needed time to think, to let it simmer, to stew about it. Then I thought will future generations even know what those phrases mean?
We live in a world of immediacy. We have instant access to all kinds of information too often speculation or rumour, but it doesn't seem to bother us. I worry often that something is slipping away.
Oral history has been around since humankind first began to communicate with each other, to pass on knowledge. There was a period when it appeared to be dying out. For some, especially First Nations it was the attempted destruction of their culture by others. Fortunately a concerted effort is being made to save and pass on what still exists.
For other people it may have simply been changing times. I met a man from Cape Breton who said when he was young the old folks told stories over and over, but that has passed. We live on our computers / i phones / and tablets chained to facebook or what ever other social media you prefer.
For the people who remember these stories it's time to record them. Thanks to technology there are a number of very reasonably priced and simple to use recording devices. The Museum Association of Saskatchewan has a very compact kit that they can loan out to member museums. So don't wait for someone else, you can do it yourself while your parents or grandparents or neighbours are still alive.