yǎ tukohtahkw . 13
Telling a story
The reclamation of orality within First Nations society informs one of the persistent efforts at softening the scars of colonialism. Many stories have been told within the community and, in recent abundance, to the outside world as well. The world of dominant culture. First Nations peoples have been pressed, both physically and legislatively, into a state of "forced tenancy". These stories are being told outside of the institutions of the dominant. Outside of museums, outside of schools, outside of the houses of government. Outside of the discourses of science, literature and art. Outside of the discourses of the object. Stories that reflect relationships between people. Where true understanding of culture emerges. Not from the dirt under the fingernails of an archaeologist.
Western civilization, through its sanctification of archived knowledge… the printed word, has left something intangible behind. Have we abandoned our ability to tell stories? To curate ancestral knowledge in our bones? Have we become too dependant on reference, citation and "on demand" access? What happens when all that we've archived is no longer available? Who is carrying our stories? Understanding the curatorial processes underpinning oral tradition is the first step to understanding how the cultures of the colonized have been most deeply affected by colonialism. Knowledge is trans-generational, recited, performed. Knowledge is valued for its authenticity rather than its volume. Knowledge that will not suffer the burning of a building, or even the attempted eradication of a civilization.
Burning of the Library of Alexandria, Ambrose Dudley
A transition from the literate to the oral. Seven stories written by seven authors. Transformed into seven storytelling experiences by seven gifted orators.