8th Fire: Amanda Nahanee


A multiplatform, multicultural documentary project, 8th Fire is a provocative look at the richness and diversity of Aboriginal cultures and Canada's complex 500-year-old relationship with Indigenous peoples -- a relationship still mired in colonialism, conflict and denial.

To further explore Aboriginal culture, CBC Books is presenting a series of video interviews with authors, playwrights and storytellers to discuss how their heritage influences and inspires their work. This week, we talk to Amanda Nahanee, the Vancouver Public Library's inaugural First Nations Storyteller in Residence.

"As a young woman, it's a huge honour to share the traditional knowledge of our First Nations people right from here, from this area," Nahanee, a descendant of the Squamish people, told CBC Books during a recent interview.

During her residency, one of Nahanee's proudest projects was collaborating on a play based on the legend of the raven and the blackberries with a group of young people. The play, which offered a fresh take on the legend by incorporating contemporary regalia, was a success and several schools in the Vancouver area contacted Nahanee to perform for their students.

"To have all of the schools in Vancouver so exicted to hear the stories, to hear the language, to hear the songs, to see the regalia, it was like a cleansing to be able to go into the schools and share it."

See more special 8th Fire interviews and blog entries here.