Traditional Storytelling as a Knowledge Culture Media

jesusTelling a story

Storytelling is the bedrock of civilization and indeed, First Nations culture. From the moment we become aware of others, we share stories that allow us to make sense of the world and to inhabit the mind of someone else. We tell stories to make small museums of memory. Storytelling, whether oral or written, is a staple of every culture the world over. Stories demand time and concentration; the storyteller does not simply transmit information, but invites the reader or listener to witness the unfolding of events. Stories introduce us to situations, people and dilemmas beyond our experience, in a way that is contemplative and gradual: it is the oldest and best form of virtual reality.

First Nations culture, through language and storytelling, is imbued from within. While Judeo-Christian traditions too rely on the use of stories to transmit cultural capitol, they often do so by separating the listener from the experience of the story by relying on the supernatural to provoke fear and awe. The Garden of Eden is quite literally described as heaven on earth, Gods gated community, and not particularly accessible to the common person. Contrastingly, First Nations stories embody both the narrative and the experience through those of the storyteller. The listener is invited to own the experiences. Its through this form of storytelling that a sense of being within the world is passed on. Its through this form of storytelling that relationships are formed and become ones compass, informing their presence in the now as well as their path towards the future. The individual can be likened to a vessel through which the past and the future flow, where stories become relationships and relationships become stories. How an individual experiences the world around them is an artifact of this living relationship between story and experience.