Unit 2: The Oral Tradition
|In Unit 2 we examine the oral tradition, which has been the basis for Indigenous culture for millennia and continues to inform Indigenous societies throughout the world. Fittingly, for much of this unit you will be listening to stories, as opposed to reading them. Grab some hot chocolate and settle in.
|ACTIVITY 1: What is a Story?
ACTIVITY 2: “The Truth About Stories”
For an excellent take on the role of stories in culture, listen to the following Thomas King story, The Truth About Stories (start at 3:00)
** For the written version, go here: “The Truth About Stories”
As you listen to the story, answer the following questions (in complete sentences):
- What does King mean when he writes, “The truth about stories is that that’s all we are?”
- Refresh your memory and do a quick google search for “irony.” How does King use irony in this story?
- How does Thomas King compare Indigenous oral traditions & creation stories to the creation story told in the bible?
- “Contained within creation stories are relationships that help to define the nature of the universe and how cultures understand the world in which they exist.” Do you agree or disagree with this statement?
- How would you answer King’s question, “Do the stories we tell reflect the world as it truly is?”
- After hearing this story, how would you define what a story is? (Tricky question, I know, but try your best)
|Activity 3: Stories & Legends
“Traditional stories play a vital role in cultural transmission and preservation in indigenous cultures throughout the world.” Several First Nations and Inuit oral stories were collected for the CBC “Legends Project.”
Choose and listen to 1 of the 11 legends on the site: Legends Project
Activity 4: Teaching Stories/Stories from an Elder
Often stories have an educational purpose, some kind of lesson that the teller of the story is communicating to the listeners. I’d like you to recall a story you have heard from an Elder, a family member, or even a story from your own experience that also functions as a teaching story. This can be one paragraph or many – it’s up to you.
(We will also arrange to have several Elders visit the school throughout the year, so you might want to hold off on this activity for the time being).
Activity 5: Speech Making
Speechmaking is an important part of the oral tradition, and continues to be an essential form of oral communication. Listen to the Chief Dan George speech, “Lament for Confederation”
- What techniques or devices did you notice Chief Dan George using? Did he appeal to emotion, to logic, to authority?
- What are your overall impressions of the speech? Was it effective?