Transformative Storyteller!

June 16, 2019

Why did I choose the title, Transformative Storyteller, for myself? Because I wanted to play on the idea of our origin stories, legends, songs, and traditional knowledge of governance, wealth and most importantly, well-being. We are an oral people. We use words in many different ways to connect, teach and learn. Stories are a great part of this. Language is the essence of our being. It provides eternal connection to our place, people and ways of being with each other.

The influence of storytelling can be very powerful as they can inflect so much meaning, teachings, learning, beauty, connection, understanding, knowing, reinforcement, etc. It is a great tool to use many skills like listening, interpreting based on one’s current space, awareness and deciding the relevance of any of it on one’s knowing. This can be done in many forms: sharing to anyone in any scenario, songs, stories, teaching on the land, conversation, etc.

I may not speak any of my languages but this does not mean I don’t think in this way of being. I was raised in my culture, surrounded by its ceremonies, songs, dances, traditions, protocols, practices, teachings, values and beliefs. Thus, my strongest skill set as an Indigenous Woman is to story tell. I have honed this skill by being in a large family, community and belonging to many Nations, by becoming the 1st female Chief in my family, and most importantly, becoming a mother to our son.

This form of communication provides each of us the opportunity to hone the skills of listening with our hearts, bearing the weight of the responsibility to learn from all of the sharing, having the courage to ask the difficult questions and seek the truth, and then have the courage to seek the solutions for a paradigm shift required to answer our children’s concerns about their future and the generations to follow them.

What does this have to do with Economic Reconciliation? Everything! I want to transform how people see the Economics of Reconciliation. That it’s about the well-being of all life on mother earth, including the planet. And the one thing I’m really good at is communicating through my words, storytelling. My words create the story of why transformation is required in our thinking around the economics of wealth. Wealth in our tradition is not only about one thing, it’s about the well-being of everything. It is not about just ones or one entities accumulation of wealth in the form of income or profits. Wealth and well-being is understanding and respecting one’s purpose in their life, their responsibility to their families (immediate and extended), community, Nation, and Land and being accountable for their role in that journey.

All of our cultures share similarities in them, just translated differently to us through so many ways of our being, in turn creating our knowing and how we interact with ourselves, each other and the place in which we are interacting. The interconnectedness of language to place is indisputable in our cultural teachings, showing how to be one with it. Teaching us respect, vulnerability, healing, sacrifice, responsibility, guardianship, and so many other things. It’s

imbedded in how we live off the land, how we use its resources, knowledge in our songs, the heart of the land in our drumming and dances, coming of age practices, rites of passage, and so much more.

We’ve been oppressed, colonized, and so much worse since contact and we have persevered. Our resilience is strong. Our next hurdle is to trust, speak and feel, that which was all taken away with things like genocide, racism, discrimination, policies, laws, murder, residential school, sixties scoop, Indian Act, Land grab, Reservations, foster care, poverty, abuse, and so many more things that need to be listed. In order to do this, we have to forgive, be vulnerable, heal, cry, share our stories, learn our culture, be on the land, practice our ways, find our families, reconnect, forgive ourselves, find our voice, go back home, and so many other things.

It starts with facing our truths, finding our strength in our vulnerability, asking for guidance and support and taking-action, by moving forward without forgetting the past, but forgiving it and letting it go. We as Nations are already doing this, we just need to do more. Reconciling in our families, communities and Nations, through healing. Allowing our children to teach us about their future. A child centred approach to well-being within our Communities leads to all of this and a new-ways of knowing. These new ways of knowing we already know because it is our culture, traditional teachings and in our DNA from our ancestors. We just have to reimagine them for today’s journey. Our children already have the answers, we just need to listen.

Economic Reconciliation begins through healing, new thinking and being.

These stories are for everyone. For human beings. For everyone who wants to take the next step in their journey to shifting their knowing and understanding of wealth and well-being. This is not solely about economic wealth but our entire well-being as one species living with Mother Earth. I share because my son asks me very tough questions about his purpose hear in this lifetime and I want to leave a record of my journey for him. So he will have grounding in the traditional knowing his mother brought into the world, share with all of the generations to come and be the legacy we teach him.