from the publisher: “Author Keavy Martin considers writing, storytelling, and performance from a range of genres and historical periods – the classic stories and songs of Inuit oral traditions, life writing, oral histories, and contemporary fiction, poetry and film – and discusses the ways in which these texts constitute an autonomous literary tradition. She draws attention to the interconnection between language, form and context and illustrates the capacity of Inuit writers, singers and storytellers to instruct diverse audiences in the appreciation of Inuit texts.”
personal: The story about how animals may wear the skins of humans, an dhow humans wear the skins of animals – loved this. Need to go back in and re-read, but I liked the acknowledgement that we and animals are the same – intellectual beings with desires, goals, cunning and abilities – and that maybe, our true form is hidden, or we are tricking people with what we pretend/appear to be. Yasssss.
The idea of differentiating between experienced life stories and life storie that they have only heard, but cannot claim to have known – yes. This distinction is important. I like this because it shows the difference between personal life stories and community family stories – the stories we can tell, verbatim, but we cannot claim as our own.
The protocol in how to work with Elders, and how, traditionally, one does not question Elders and how the Elders gave their permission, that was good. I often struggle with the idea of questioning my Elders, because no. Thankfully, my Elders have been open to the process, although I did find that they were as often to change the subject so much more than I, as the stories shared are living being, and jump from memory to memory, but that’s my experience, and it’s interesting to think about how the training an isolation of community and storytelling differs from nation to nation.
- “The sila – both the wisdom and the environment – of Pangnirtung taught me that I was missing many of the skills crucial to good living. Having devoted the bulk of my recent energies to the demands of my PhD program, other skills, like my ability to be self-sufficient, to be a good member of my community, and to read and make use of my environment, had remained infantile” (5)
- “I argue that a “national” literature of sorts exists in the shared, through variable, tradition of stories” (8)
- “As an outsider, I remain wary of imposing perspectives on the material; indeed, the goal of this project has been to seek Inuit methods of interpretation, as embodied by the texts themselves” (11)
- “While autobiography and oral history provide historical perspectives, cultural information, and life lessons that are of undeniable value, most literary critics would likely now agree that questions of language and literary form are inseparable from the historical and political qualities of text” (104)
- “But these doers, I soon learned, were following a strict protocol about appropriate kinds of speech, or storytelling” (107)
- “One of the most common corrections that the students received was about changing the subject – if the elders had come to talk about climate change, then we should ask about climate change. I gradually became aware of our tendency to propel a discussion haphazardly from one topic to another; in our view, anything loosely associated with the theme was fair game” (110)
buy the book: Stories in a New Skin