Unreserved

Why stories matter now more than ever

Stories can comfort, explain, transport, record, or act as a warning. They can help us imagine other worlds and futures. And now, maybe more than ever before, stories matter. This week — from literature to oral histories, from film to poetry, and an apocalyptic fiction that started to look like reality — we’re exploring the importance of stories.
Author Daniel Heath Justice explores the importance of storytelling during a pandemic, CBC host Waubgeshig Rice was surprised when his book of fiction came to life, and real life experience turned into a film for Elle-Maija Tailfeathers. (Melvin Yap/Wilfrid Laurier University Press/ECW Press/Redworks Photography)

Stories can comfort, explain, transport, record, or act as a warning. They can help us imagine other worlds and futures. And now, maybe more than ever before, stories matter. 

This week — from literature to oral histories, from film to poetry, and an apocalyptic fiction that started to look like reality — we're exploring the importance of stories.

We're in a moment that feels unsettling, uncertain, even scary. Daniel Heath Justice says that's why we need stories now, more than ever. Justice is Cherokee and a professor in Indigenous Studies and English at the University of British Columbia. He's also the author of Why Indigenous Literatures Matter, and says the stories we take in can have a profound impact.

In late March, in an apparent attempt to avoid COVID-19, a Quebec couple travelled thousands of kilometres to the fly-in community of Old Crow, a community of about 250 people in the Yukon. This story sounded a bit familiar to Waubgeshig Rice, because he had written it before. Or, at least a fictionalized version of it in his post-apocalyptic novel, Moon of the Crusted Snow. Rice explains what it was like to see his fictional tale become a reality.

Ian McCallum is a member of the Munsee Delaware Nation in southern Ontario. He shares the Munsee story of the Weemacheekaniishak [little people], and talks about the importance of passing stories down through generations. 

Sometimes a real life experience can inspire a powerful story. That's what happened to filmmaker Elle-Maija Tailfeathers. Tailfeathers and her co-director talk about their film, The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open

This week's playlist: 

Snotty Nose Rez Kids. (Vanessa Heins)

Snotty Nose Rez Kids - Real Deadly

Shawnee - Building a Wall

Kelly Fraser - Sedna

Amanda Rheaume ft. Kinnie Starr - The Best

 

 

now