Saturday, May 29, 2010

Story Time

The stories are not just fairy tales they are the history of a people that stretches over nearly 100,000 years. They are the stories of the Dreaming and why the world is the way it is. They are the lessons on what to eat, when to travel and how to treat each other. The songlines are maps that allow peoples to traverse thousands of miles. They are passed from generation to generation with a scared trust that will allow their transmission for time forever more.

In my culture (a white Western one) we are reliant on the written word - in books, in newspapers, in documents of all kinds to keep records - if I want to check something I can look it up, if I want to understand something, I can research it. So many cultures, including the many indigenous peoples of Australia, have traditionally relied on oral traditions.

I understand it but I cannot comprehend the nature of being the storyteller or the keeper of the tales - the honor, the responsibility, the need to tell the stories just as they were told to me, to teach the dances the way they have always been taught, to ensure that the generations that would come after me would understand themselves, their land, they culture.

I am fortunate to live in an age where people of my culture can learn some of the stories too - from books and tv and radio and the internet. In my community one of the Uncles even does a traditional storytelling sometimes. And I can learn the stories from my land - Noongar country, and the land I live on - Gumbaynggir country, from all over Australia. And I can learn stories from all over the world from peoples that all have something to teach, something to contribute.

Those who call them "primitive" have got it oh so wrong.

Writer's Prompts Daily


Megan Bayliss said...

Hasn't this been an excellent promt for all os us - I think we have each done well in the story telling of our strongest genre.

Your informative voice, the voice of non fiction, is very strong: well developed.

I am really glad you are joining us.


Mountaingirl said...

I am really glad to be here - and anytime soon I will branch out to a fiction voice lol. And thanks for the feedback - for without it we cannot learn :-)

Julie G said...

Hi MG,

I am interested, Noongar, It is my country too, albeit I am white.

Jerramungup ring any bells.