8th Fire: Rosa John

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 Rosa John.

As artistic director for the Kehewin Native Dance Theatre in Alberta, John focuses on a different way of telling stories -- through dance.

"Dance as a story technique evolved because many nations had to communicate with each other and not everybody spoke the same language," she told CBC Books in a recent interview.

"Today, we say 'Native' like everybody's Native, but everyone has their own language, their own culture. Many of the different communities speak quite differently than the others and so, traditionally, when dancers used to go out or storytellers would travel, they would have to be able to learn a lot of different languages. So instead they used movement, and they would tell their stories through movement."

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