Storytelling– Oposenta (Walter Paul), from Sitansisk (St. Mary’s First Nation)

Whenever storytelling happens, the storyteller feels a personal connection and a tribal kinship with those who are listening to the story.  Yet to the thoughtful listener, the story offers testament to the power of language and maintains a tenacious hold on cultural values.

Storytelling has no end – only continuation.  Listeners gets a sense, a fragrance of spirit which means the storyteller’s drive and motivation is surrounded by proper silence.  Storytelling helps listeners to discover traditional healing methods and traditional teachings. Listeners must be thankful for the great beauty of our ancestors’ spiritual legacy.  

Oral tradition has always had an impact on how cultural identity will be shaped.  Also, stories have a powerful effect when told in the right way, to the right people and at the right time, helping people establish a worldview.  By sharing stories, it defines who we are and what we stand for. 

Telling stories is a way for people to create meaning in their lives and make sense of the world. Indigenous stories keep a way of life intact. Most importantly storytelling has taken on a new form as a tool for decolonization.  The powerful words of a story are aimed directly at the bullseye of colonization.  In storytelling, spiritual truths and political truths inhabit the same space in which experiences are shared.

Indigenous stories have been impacted by colonialism; yet Indigenous storytellers have control over what they share. Listeners are responsible for taking care of the cultural and linguistic knowledge that they have been presented with.

It is important to note that storyteller’s communication is captured by their voices, body language, gestures, and cultural nuances. Many indigenous stories remind listeners about being whole and healthy. Listeners are also reminded of traditional teaching, values, and ceremonies.  Indigenous stories have the power to bring together the heart, the mind, the body, and the spirit. If stories are taken care of, they will take care of us.

All stories deserve to be retold, remembered, and held close.  One way of approaching indigenous stories is to understand them considering tribal ways of knowing.  Thomas King has suggested that once you have heard or read a story it becomes a part of you, and it continues to shape the way you move forward in the world. 

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