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.
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 - Real Deadly
Shawnee - Building a Wall
Kelly Fraser - Sedna
Amanda Rheaume ft. Kinnie Starr - The Best