Watch above: February is aboriginal storytelling month in Saskatchewan. As Carly Robinson explains, aboriginal storytellers are keeping tradition alive but adapting to changing technology.
SASKATOON – It’s a custom used to teach, entertain and remember. Traditional aboriginal stories vary from region to region but they all fall back to the same seven fundamental teachings: love, courage, respect, honesty, humility, truth and wisdom.
“Storytelling is an essential part of who we are as a people,” said Chad Solomon, who uses graphic novels and puppets to tell his story in a series called Rabbit and Bear Paws.
“If we understand our own stories of where we come from, then we can hopefully be better people to be better neighbours with everyone else around us.”
Solomon’s stories are all based on traditional teachings; however, he finds ways to connect with contemporary issues such as residential schools, or missing and murdered aboriginal women, in a lighthearted way suitable for children.
“Every part of life is art, art is a story.”
While Solomon’s modern touch to storytelling is puppets, Lindsay Knight uses a beat to tell her story. Known as “Eekwol” on stage, the award-winning hip-hop performing artist grew up knowing very little about her own history.
It was only in high school when a teacher told her to close her textbook and talk openly about the colonialism and the effects it has for modern aboriginals that Knight was inspired to take to music. She now raps her messages about the different worldview lived by aboriginal people pre-colonialism and the importance of keeping traditional languages alive.
Megan Parsons says that hearing from Eekwol at Saskatchewan Polytechnic campus as part of aboriginal storytelling month was something inspirational.
“It’s nice to see people embracing their culture, and caring about the loss of the languages,” said Parsons.
Both Eekwol and Solomon spoke to crowds Monday in Saskatoon as part of aboriginal storytelling month.
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