Native Canadians and the End of Storytelling


This article originally appeared in Issue# 61

Another woman, who identified herself as a school teacher, said: "When TV came to my village I saw an immediate change. The kids lost all interest in the native language. They only wanted English. But worst of all is that storytelling has stopped cold. Storytelling used to be the main activity at night; all the kids sitting around the old people...

We'd ask our grandparents for the same stories night after night. We loved those stories and they were important. They taught us how to live here. But more than that they conveyed trust and love and admiration between the young and the old. The old people were windows into the past; the way we could see who we are as Indians. It was how the culture was passed on. We used to honor our old people but that's all going now. The generations are sitting all together now, silently watching television. And on TV it seems like being young is all that matters and that the old have nothing to say.

— Author and media critic Jerry Mander. From In the Absence of the Sacred, quoted in Whole Earth Review.