Entertaining and educating by storytelling

The Yorkton area has celebrated Aboriginal Storytelling Week this February, wrapping up with 90 kids gathering at the Yorkton Public Library to hear Lyle and Carol Daniels tell stories.

Storytelling keeps a culture alive, Lyle Daniels explains, and while the stories are were meant to entertain, they were also meant to pass down useful information from one generation to the next, a long oral tradition that he believes is a big part of how people have been able to survive.

“The whole reason why we’ve been here for thousands of years is that we’ve been able to take information from one generation to the next.”

Having a dedicated time to have kids and listen to stories is something that they both enjoy, Daniels says, and is also something that can be rare as kids have so many electronic distractions in their lives now.

“Just have them sit and listen to stories, but also have them learn something and have fun doing it. That’s the whole reason why we’re doing this all this week.”

The month of February is an appropriate month for a storytelling week, Daniels says, because it has always been a good time to gather people together indoors, with education and entertainment happening safely inside.

“When you go back to the traditional First Nations lifestyle, think of this place maybe 200 years ago. February travelling the plains of Saskatchewan was pretty darn cold! Our way of biding the time and giving the kids something to do, they spent a good deal of time in the tepee, telling stories.”

The couple have been a number of area communities, including Sturgis, Pelly, Norquay and the Cote First Nation. He says that having a week like this is useful to give young people a way to understand First Nations culture and go beyond any stereotypes, while also bringing the message that all cultures need to be respected and celebrated.

“I love how diverse the communities are, from having no aboriginal people to having a mix and being able to tell stories no matter who was there. The importance of respecting one another and respecting other cultures... That’s the one thing I enjoyed, to be able to meet all these young people and be proud of the fact that these young people are growing up with good knowledge of who we are.”

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