ICYMI, the Academy Awards were last Sunday and all week I have been seeing post after post about Taika Waititi and quotes from his speech.
“I dedicate this to all the indigenous kids in the world who want to do art and dance and write stories,” Waititi said in his acceptance speech. “We are the original storytellers and we can make it here as well.”
A well deserved reactions considering how long we have been telling our stories.
Storytelling is part of who we are, regardless of indigeniety. Every culture, race and ethnic group has some kind of tie to it. Otherwise how would we, today have a link to our past. Sometimes, we live so deeply in these stories they consume us. Once just a tale to pass the longs and nights and to entertain, we now believe wholeheartedly in them. We give them power and when someone tries to disprove the story; we fight for it and cling to it like bubblegum stuck to your shoe on a hot summer day.
As a child, my father ran the summer camp program, where we he would take the group camping for a night. Although not that deep into the woods, yet a good 20 minutes outside of town, we would camp next to the rapids. At night while roasting smores, dad would spin yarns that still make me think twice before I jump into a lake.
Growing up I never considered the history of my people’s stories, I have never really thought of where they come from, or who they come from, until now. I remember my dad telling stories around the campfire during summer camp. Sitting around the fire, roasting smores, while he told of water monsters and things that live in the woods. Which as a kid that was afraid of the dark and hated bugs did not bode well. My favourite was of the a creature that lived in the water and always made me pause before I jumped off the high rock into the water.
It wasn’t until I started writing that my dad told me we come from storytellers, that was who our family was an I am finally coming home by writing. In telling stories, I am torn. By myth, tradition and technology. I live in social media, not realizing that these snippets of life give a glimpse into stories, made to look pretty with filters and the right angle, cultivating, creating a new story, a myth so we can carry on with the day.
As I look back to this story my dad would tell and I remember, I wonder the true meaning of it is as it most likely been re-told and distorted through time by the lens of the teller.