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Legends XI: Legends from Ahtahkakoop

Monday, Mar 7, 2011 | 6:05 AM
Barry-and-Maheken-Awasis-Ahenakew-584x390.jpg Barry and Maheken Awasis Ahenakew

LISTEN to Legends from Ahtahkakoop (runs 53:58)

'Legends from Ahtahkakoop', or Sandy Lake, Saskatchewan, is the 11th in the 
series that began in Iqaluit, Nunavut in 2002. Since then the Legends 
Production team has travelled to remote First Nations communities to 
dramatize First Nations' and Inuit stories; fascinating stories of creation, 
spirituality, myth, and legend. This is in part to help showcase the rich 
cultural value of these ancient stories, before both tradition and language 
are lost to a dominant English culture.

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Legends Project

Legends Project: Legends of the Kwak'wala

Tuesday, May 18, 2010 | 12:55 AM

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Norma Wadhams craddles a rattle (Leah Shaw/CBC)


The Gwich'in Legends were originally broadcast on May 18, 2010 on Ideas on CBC Radio One.

Alert Bay nestles on Cormorant Island, a three mile long, half mile wide island three kilometres northeast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

Alert Bay and Cormorant Island are the name s given by the English in the 1800s, but this community was one of several traditional Kwakwaka'wakw villages. The Kwakwaka'wakw were resettled and schooled by government in Alert Bay. Laws were passed banning their potlatch ceremony. Their language, art, and culture were driven underground. In 1904, the Kwakwaka'wakw, now the Namgis First Nation, were believed to number fewer than 200.

Their art, potlatches, songs, and traditions are being revitalized with help from organizations such as the U'Mista Cultural Centre, in Alert Bay. It is U'Mista's mandate to repatriate the many ceremonial artifacts that were taken by museums and private collectors around the world when they believed the Kwakwaka'wakw were --or would soon be--extinct. U'Mista is actively protecting the language, songs, and traditions in its big house ceremonies and archives. It was through teaming up with the dedicated and talented staff and supportive elders that the CBC Radio Legacy team was able to adapt into English some of the traditional legends for this project.

In these legends you will hear some of the timeless Kwakwaka'wakw values: tradition of giving away to show one's wealth, the connection to the majestic killer whales, the significance of the uligan and the cedar tree, and the influence of the islands and sea and all that they have provided for the Kwakwaka'wakw since the beginning of time.

While these stories are in English, the same stories have also been produced in Kwak'wala. It is hoped that these original language versions will help promote and protect the endangered language now and for future generations.

Link to the U'Mista Cultural Centre

LISTEN to Legends of the Kwak'wala (runs 53:59)


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Legends Project

Legends Project: Gwich'in Legends

Monday, Oct 26, 2009 | 10:14 PM

Karen_coaching_Charissa_Goeson.jpgKaren Mitchell coaching Charissa Goeson (Leah Shaw/CBC)


The Gwich'in Legends were originally broadcast on October 26, 2009 and re-broadcast on February 24th, 2010 on Ideas on CBC Radio One.

The CBC Legends Project Team partnered with the Gwich'in Social and Cultural Institute (GSCI) for the ninth legacy production. This partnership brought us to the Gwich'in Settlement area in the Northwest Territories and allowed us to meet and record five elders: Elizabeth Greenland (Inuvik), Mary Kendi (93 years old, Aklavik), Annie Norbert (Tsiigehtchic), Gabe Andre (Tsiigehtchic), and Eunice Mitchell (Fort McPherson). After these recordings were translated and transcribed by our language experts at GSCI, five stories were selected and then scripted for our radio drama productions. We returned to Inuvik in February 2009 to record these stories using more than 20 bilingual actors who filed through the basement studios at CBC North Radio bureau. These completed productions will compliment GSCI's extensive efforts to document, promote, and protect the culture, language, and stories. The CDs of these bilingual productions will be available for Gwich'in language teachers in the north and beyond. We hope you enjoy the bawdy humour from this proud, charismatic northern nation.

LISTEN to Gwich'in Legends (runs 53:58)

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Legends Project

Legends Project: Legends of the Ilnu of Mashteuiatsh of Quebec

Monday, Apr 6, 2009 | 10:14 PM

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Legends of the Ilnu of Mashteuiatsh of Quebec was originally broadcast on Ideas on CBC Radio One. The CD is available for purchase at CBC Shop Online.

From the shores of Lac St Jean, these traditional legends of the Pekuakamiulnuatsh - the Montagnais of Lac Saint-Jean - reflect a journey back in time when humans and animals spoke the same language. They share the lessons taught by an ancient culture and tap into our basic need for myth, crossing the boundaries of age, gender, ethnicity, and time. These lessons are as powerful now as they were 10 thousand years ago. Here are four stories retold in French, Nehluen, and English.

The Pekuakamiulnuatsh is the ancestral name of the Montagnais of Lac Saint-Jean, a member of the Innu Nation whose traditional territory spreads from the south-west of Quebec, to the north-eastern coast of Labrador. Around 6000 BC, the glacial cover retreated sufficiently to allow the Saguenay-Lac Saint-Jean region to become habitable. With the melting of the glaciers, Lac Saint-Jean covered the whole of the lowlands and reached as far as the foothills of the surrounding mountains.

The predominant activity of the Sub-Arctic groups was hunting and gathering. Hunting techniques changed over time reflecting much of the cultural identity of hunters, but did not become necessarily more complex. And for generations the caribou was instrumental to the survival of the Pekuakamiulnuatsh, providing them with practical as well as spiritual sustenance. Much of the Pekuakamiulnuatsh modern history is irrevocably tied to the influence of the fur trade. Trading posts operated in this region more or less continuously since the late 17th century, and the fur traders introduced a new economy. But hunting and fishing remained a mainstay of Ilnu life.

Today the Pekuakamiulnuatsh way of life is still deeply connected to the land on which they live and to the rhythms of the seasons, even though the advent of technology has modified the time spent in traditional pursuits. The Ilnu live mostly in nine communities. Seven are located along a 900-kilometre stretch bordering the St. Lawrence River, from Tadoussac to the Labrador border. The other two communities live on the edge of Lac Saint-Jean and in the heart of the northern region of Québec.

The legends included in this collection were gathered in the community of Mashteuiatsh, the most populated community with more than 4,600 residents. Their home is on the shores of Pekuakami - Lac Saint-Jean, and surrounded by the City of Roberval and the Municipality of Saint-Prime.

LISTEN to Legends of the Ilnu of Mashteuiatsh (runs 53:56)

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Legends Project

Legends Project: Legends of the Kainai (Stories from the Blackfoot People)

Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009 | 10:13 PM

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Legends of the Kainai: Stories from the Blackfoot people of southern Alberta was originally broadcast on Ideas on CBC Radio One. The CD is available for purchase at CBC Shop Online.

This segment features dramatized versions of traditional Blackfoot legends recorded in March 2007, on the Blood Reserve in southwestern Alberta. These legends are only a small part of the many hours of stories told by Blackfoot elders of the Blood Tribe (Kainai), in their original language. It is the hope that these precious recordings will help preserve the endangered language of the Kainai and will showcase the traditional lifestyle, history, values and creation myths as they were shared by the Blackfoot for more than 10,000 years.

Once referred to as "Lord of the Plains" the Blackfoot Confederacy were one of the most feared and respected warrior nations. They dominated the plains from the Rockies to Saskatchewan, living nomadically in Niitoyisi (tipis) made from buffalo hides and poles. With the assistance of dogs and later horses, the Blackfoot followed the herds of buffalo, which provided them sustenance. They lived in camps made up of families and clans, adhering to a complex governing system and protocol. They shared stories, traditions and celebrations that reflected their vast knowledge of the land, sky, plants and animals. This knowledge helped them thrive for thousands of years on North America's prairies.

Compared to other First Nations the Blackfoot were colonized relatively late. Although there have been generations of assimilation through residential schools and other means, their cultural and sacred traditions, along with their language, remains intact. This continues to be threatened by dominant English media. Many traditional Blackfoot stories are still told today that explain rituals, sacred duties and ceremonies practiced since the beginning of time. Involvement in these sacred societies, such as the Horn, Dove and Crazy Dogs is often mandatory and it is these societies that have protected the cultural pride, belief system, songs, stories and Blackfoot ways of life, even though they were outlawed until recent times.

LISTEN to Legends of the Kainai: Stories from the Blackfoot People (runs 53:58)

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Legends Project

Legends Project: Legends of the Mi'kmaq

Friday, Feb 27, 2009 | 10:12 PM

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Kluskap's People: Stories of the Mi'kmaq was originally broadcast on Ideas on CBC Radio One.


The six bilingual legends included here are dramatizations selected from the many traditional Mi'kmaq stories that would have been shared during family gatherings and activities. They were recorded entirely in the Cape Breton community of Eskasoni during June 2006, but all are based on traditional Mi'kmaq cultural beliefs that have evolved over thousands of years.

All songs, chants, drums, flute and rattle by Joel Denny, Kathy Denny and Beverly Jeddore.

LISTEN to Legends of the Mi'kmaq (Runs 00:54:32)

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Legends Project

Legends Project: Legends of the Old Massett Haida

Tuesday, Feb 10, 2009 | 10:12 PM

dick_gathering_sound.jpgProducer Dick Miller gathering sound

Twenty original stories from northern Haida Gwaii were recorded, transcribed and digitally preserved for the Masset Haida Heritage and Repatriation Society, in 2005. Five of these recordings were dramatized and aired on CBC Radio Ideas in fall 2006. The CD is available for purchase at CBC Shop Online. The legend Raven Creation Story was incorporated into the Vancouver Art Gallery's 2006 Raven Traveling Haida Art Exhibit. The CD has aided other language projects in the community.

LISTEN to Legends of the Old Massett Haida (runs 54:49)

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Legends Project

Legends Project: Legends of the Shuswap

Wednesday, Jan 21, 2009 | 10:11 PM

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Stories from the Secwepemc of Salmon Arm, B.C. aired nationally on CBC Radio Ideas in March, 2006. Bilingual CDs are available for purchase at the CBC Shop online or through the Switzmalph Cultural Society.

This collection of traditional oral legends was recorded, dramatized and produced in the north Okanagan, using bilingual performers, original music, unique vocalizations and natural sounds from rural Salmon Arm and adjacent communities. These ancient stories are as meaningful today in these adapted versions as they were when they were first told thousands of years ago.

LISTEN to Legends of the Shuswap (runs 54:25)

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Legends Project

Legends Project: Legends of the Mushuau Innu of Natuashish

Wednesday, Jan 14, 2009 | 10:10 PM

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These stories were recorded in October 2004, in the northern Labrador community of Natuashish, as told by the Elders of the Mushuau Innu, and translated by Manishan Edmonds. These aired March 2005 on CBC Radio, "Ideas" and regional CBC (Goose Bay, Newfoundland-Labrador). Bilingual CDs are available for purchase at CBC Shop online.

LISTEN to Legends of the Mushuau Innu of Natuashish (runs 56:22)

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Legends Project

Inuit Legends II: Legends of the Eastern Arctic

Friday, Nov 7, 2008 | 10:10 PM

Leesee_Qaqasik.JPGLeesee Qaqasik

Inuit Legends I and II were originally broadcast on Ideas on CBC Radio One. Bilingual CDs are available for purchase on CBC Shop online.

These were the first of the Legends series and through these the formula was established to continue recording traditional oral legends from elders in First Nations communities around Canada. They were very well received by both Inuktitut-speaking and English speaking audiences regionally and nationally.

LISTEN to Legends of the Eastern Arctic (runs 54:50)

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Legends Project

Inuit Legends I: An Inuit Journey

Sunday, Oct 19, 2008 | 10:09 PM

Karliin_Arreak_and_Leesee_Qaqasik.JPGKarliin Arreak and Leesee Qaqasik

Inuit Legends I and II were originally broadcast on Ideas on CBC Radio One. Bilingual CDs are available for purchase on CBC Shop online.

These were the first of the Legends series and through these the formula was established to continue recording traditional oral legends from elders in First Nations communities around Canada. They were very well received by both Inuktitut-speaking and English speaking audiences regionally and nationally.

LISTEN to An Inuit Journey (Runs 1:05:36)

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Legends Project

The History of the Legends Project

Friday, Jun 20, 2008 | 10:07 PM

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Many years ago...

A small team in Iqaluit, Nunavut began a project to record, archive and then produce--as radio dramas--the traditional oral stories of Canada's Inuit and First Nations. These ancient legends and myths were then dramatized and broadcast across the country on CBC Radio Ideas, Sunday Showcase and Tapestry. They were also aired on regional programs in English as well as in their original languages.

And the Legacy continues...

The Legends goals have evolved into meeting the increasing urgency to help First Nations' communities protect and promote their endangered languages. So far, 8 groups or nations have participated; the Project aims to complete 12 by 2012.

By creating bilingual (or in some cases, tri-lingual) compact disks from these productions, we can ensure that the productions live beyond the CBC Radio broadcasts to form curriculum or other language teaching tools. The Legacy Project producers want these unique and fascinating stories to be shared with audiences everywhere.

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The oral histories of our First Nations are part of the foundation of this country. It is time they were heard by all Canadians. The Legacy Production Team works hard to keep the productions true to their cultural origins in tone and accuracy.

Listen to the audio summary.

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