Darrell on storytellers
One of the great things about making ReVision Quest is that we get to bust negative stereotypes about Aboriginal People. There are lots of words that get bandied about that are just plain destructive, but one of the words a lot of people don't think could be considered problematic is "quaint". The problem with being quaint is that it suggests that Aboriginal People and culture are stuck in a long forgotten era, a time when things were simple, and that's where our people remained -- simple.
This is especially true when people think of Aboriginal stories and legends. A lot of people are only comfortable when our stories remain "quaint". Tales about how trickster interacted with other animals or creation stories involving turtles -- people rarely want to hear about the historical or even present day stories of Aboriginal life unless there is some element of mysticism or "quaintness".But if you are a long time listener of the show, you know that one of the main points we constantly try to drive home is that Native people are constantly evolving.I think today's episode on storytellers helped to reinforce that point. You don't often get to hear a traditional Aboriginal storyteller say that the future of Aboriginal storytelling is in rap and hip-hop music
I'd love to see a romanticized movie about Natives pull that one off. Picture it: an old wizened Native man sitting around the campfire about to impart his age old knowledge to his tribe. "This is the story of how all of creation came to be and how the animals were once human. But first... Pump up the snare in my headphones.Now D.J., spin that wheel!"
One thing I hope we made clear was that Aboriginal stories over the centuries have always evolved and modern day storytellers are as an important source of record keeping as our storytelling ancestors. But mostly importantly, I hope we entertained.
On a personal note, I just wanted to acknowledge a great loss in the Aboriginal community. Sadly, Native actor and activist Gordon Tootoosis passed away from pneumonia last week, leaving behind a legacy of countless film roles and positive change. I have had the honour of working with Gordon on a number of film sets and he was always the epitome of gentleman. His quiet confidence, charisma, and hilarious sense of humour earned him a legion of adoring fans not only behind the scenes but around the world.
While ReVision Quest endeavours to break stereotypes and highlight the positivity of Aboriginal change, Gordon epitomized those qualities on a daily basis, just by being Gordon. He was truly an inspiration to me. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends. Gordon will be sadly missed.
Categories: 2011, Darrell Dennis Blog
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