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Aboriginal Videos

First Nations, Inuit and Métis
Information about the importance of story telling in Aboriginal culture
First Nations societies regularly tell stories – about adventures, ancestors, or different aspects of the land. Through stories and songs, First Nations keep their history alive and pass it on to subsequent generations. First Nations storytelling has always been a communal experience. Stories brought people together to share a past, to explain the seemingly inexplicable in creation or to instruct. A powerful story might also make children see the consequences their actions might have. First Nations people use stories for entertainment, recording history and education. As a teaching tool, stories are a valuable way to educate young people about the values and beliefs that First Nations consider important for their members. Teaching stories fall into different categories. Some are similar to fables, with explicit morals. Another popular kind of teaching story is the open-ended story. Here the lesson is subtle, possibly even obscure, and is left to the students or listeners to discover. The discovery story educates listeners gradually. The goals or morals of the story reveal themselves to the listener, as his or her maturity and life experiences develop. Traditionally, winter, with its longer nights, was the main storytelling season. Historical stories ensure the recording and transmission of important events for families and for Nations. However, stories used primarily as teaching tools for the young can be told at any time by anyone. The education of First Nations children is not left strictly to the children’s family or parents. A wide range of individuals, including members of the extended family, older siblings, friends, Elders and leaders, also occasionally instruct the young. In addition, stories are a useful method for teaching and retaining First Nations languages.

-from Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada

Resting on the shore, two kilometres south of Campbell River’s city centre, lies the forty foot tall Big Rock. An anomaly in the local landscape, this monolith has graced the shoreline for at least ten-thousand years. In its time as a denizen of Vancouver Island it has been at the core of thousands of stories. From Big Rock in Campbell River‘s website

Although the name “Eskimo” is commonly used … to refer to all Inuit and Yupik people of the world, this name is considered derogatory in many other places because it was given by non-Inuit people and was said to mean “eater of raw meat.” Linguists now believe that “Eskimo” is derived from an Ojibwa word meaning “to net snowshoes.” However, the people of Canada and Greenland prefer other names. “Inuit,” meaning “people,” is used in most of Canada, and the language is called “Inuktitut” in eastern Canada although other local designations are used also. The Inuit people of Greenland refer to themselves as “Greenlanders” or “Kalaallit” in their language, which they call “Greenlandic” or “Kalaallisut.”

 

From the University of Alaska Fairbanks

For Teachers