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Life Stories of Elders Preserve Oral Tradition

StarPhoenix (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada) , November 6, 2004


Kiskisiwin is a collection of life stories as told by a group of elders from the Beardy's & Okemasis First Nation near Duck Lake. The stories are sometimes happy, sometimes sad, sometimes regretful but often insightful, as the elders talk about the hardships and joys of their long lives.

"The purpose is the preservation of the language, the culture and the traditions of our people," said Whitecalf, owner of Sweet Grass Records/Productions in Saskatoon, which produced the book.

"Times are changing, and the youth aren't going out to find these stories. A lot of the elders are taking that knowledge to the grave. It's not being passed down because no one is seeking it." In fact, he said two elders passed away during publication.

Kiskisiwin is a Cree word meaning "I remember" and the act of remembering is laced throughout the book. The elders were asked to tell their life stories, especially those aspects they would like to be read some day by their grandchildren. Most of the stories were told in Cree and translated into English.

Subjects Covered: diversity training, education

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