Hope, the afterlife and Indigenous knowledge: a conversation with Jane Goodall – Saskatoon

Ahead of her talk in Saskatoon, Jane Goodall took some time to take part in a live conversation with CBC’s Madeline Kotzer and Canadians.

Goodall talked about her work with chimpanzees, animal research, hope, the afterlife and how Indigenous wisdom can help us all make more sustainable choices.


Madeline Kotzer: I’d like to go back to the beginning of your work with primates. The year in 1960, you’re 26-years-old, you have just arrived at the Gombe Stream Chimpanzee Reserve in Tanzania. What had you set out to do there?

Jane Goodall: Well, I went to Africa — saved up and got there — in 1957. I would have studied any animal, anything, and I met the late Louis Leakey, Dr. Leakey, and it was he who suggested that I would study chimps. Because, chimps are so close to us and he spent his life searching for the fossilized remains of early humans. And, so he felt that watching the chimps would help him understand, maybe how early humans had behaved.

MK: Your work totally changed the way humans view chimpanzees, and people who’ve written about your work say you’re “the woman who redefined man,” … why do they say that about your Dr. Jane?

JG: Because, the first chimpanzee who began to lose his fear of me — I called him David Greybeard, he had a beautiful white beard — and one day, I saw him, using piece of grass to fish termites from their nest. I saw him break off leafy twigs and use that as a tool, he had to strip the leaves. At that time, science thought only humans use and make tools. We were defined as man the tool-maker. So, when I sent a telegram to Louis Leakey, he said ‘we must redefine tool, redefine man or accept chimpanzees as humans.’

This screen shot of footage from National Geographic shows one of Jane Goodall’s most cherished moments working with chimpanzees. (National Geographic/YouTube)

MK: From your time working with chimpanzees, do you have a moment or experience that you cherish the most?

JG: There are so many,…

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