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Aboriginal Cultures & Traditions  - Storytelling

Home > The Stories

Our Stories: First Nations Stories | Métis Stories | Inuit Stories

The Stories

Picture of red river cart, canoe and drum

For Aboriginal people, the importance of listening to a story was to learn about the cultural knowledge and history being passed on through the teller. If the story was about something particularly important to the cultural identity of the collective group, for example, the Coast Salish story of creation, the storyteller would have to learn it as it had been passed on through the generations - word for word. If the storyteller did not learn it exactly as it had been passed on, they were not permitted to become an official storyteller of the tribe. The very cultural identity of the people demanded exact recollection of such teachings.

Stories which came about from life experiences were a little more flexible and might have been told by any member of the group during a social gathering. Not every story centered on past events, some, such as prophecy, told of times yet to come and of signs for which to watch.

With the advent of residential schools, the sixties scoop, and the Indian Act, which at one time forbade cultural ceremonies and teachings, today's Aboriginal peoples struggle to maintain what is left. Elders are passing away without having shared their stories with those willing to carry on the sacred teachings and cultural identities for future generations.

By clicking on the links above, you can listen to and read First Nations, Metis and Inuit stories.


 

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This digital collection was produced with financial assistance from Canada's Digital Collections Initiative, Industry Canada.