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Contemporary Stories and Aboriginal Oral Tradition
This site features a selection of stories from Aboriginal oral tradition as well as contemporary stories from the collection of Library and Archives Canada (LAC). By including tales from yesterday and today, we hope to highlight the survival and continuity of this oral tradition, and allow visitors to discover the new paths it has taken. Some contemporary tales are quite different from traditional accounts, but they fit into the vast area of storytelling and oral history. The Stories of Here and Now sections also provide an opportunity to highlight and celebrate the work of several distinguished modern Aboriginal authors and organizations.
Selecting the Stories and Preparing the Texts
Although our goal was to cover this topic as broadly as possible, the exhibition cannot cover the complexity and diversity of the subject matter as a whole. For this reason, the selection of the stories involved painstaking efforts and consultation with numerous experts from various Inuit, Métis and First Nations communities. These authors, storytellers, ethnologists, professors, archivists and booksellers were consulted because of their empirical knowledge on the subject, and also for their personal experiences.
Story selection was based on various criteria, including:
As much as possible, the featured traditional stories were transcribed by Aboriginal authors. Some have also been re-transcribed by non-Aboriginal people to whom the traditional storytellers told the story; these exchanges have sometimes resulted in interpretation or translation errors. As a result, the experts who selected the stories paid special attention to both the choice of story and the person who transcribed it.
We also consulted experts to prepare the texts. Each text was written by an author from the Aboriginal group to which the section is dedicated, and was reviewed by a peer.
LAC expresses its thanks to the many specialists that participated in this project as consultants, namely Renée Hulan, Rita Bouvier, Sherry Facette and Gregory Scofield. LAC also conveys its heartfelt thanks to storytellers Stephen Augustine and Maria Campbell.
We also thank the Canadian Museum of Civilization, which allowed us to record the interview with Maria Campbell.
We also gratefully acknowledge the contribution of the Department of Canadian Heritage, whose financial assistance through the Canadian Culture Online Program made this work possible.