Storytelling and Forgiveness
- Wednesday, April 19, 2017
- By Bruce Jenner
Last Friday was another great FNL experience this time with dancer and storyteller Nyla Carpentier. Sharing our stories has always been important at FNL and it was great to have a show featuring a great storyteller. Sure she danced and by the end of the night she had everyone up and dancing the steps she showed us, but I found the storytelling very compelling.
It reminding me of a visit to Roy Henry Vickers gallery in Tofino a few years back. By chance he was there telling stories...and the story he was telling was of his path to becoming a storyteller. What stood out for me was how he spoke of storytelling being important in our families to teach our children, how it is important that families tell their stories in the community, how communities need to tell their stories to the nation and how nations need to tell their stories to the world.
One story that Nyla briefly touched on was how destructive residential schools were on her culture, but she was also hopeful because they were still here. Her culture had survived this attempted destruction. It had actually grown in the meantime, as she demonstrated with the changes to dances she learned from the 60's to now. When Blair asked how she could talk so matter-of-factly about residential schools, how there did not seem to be resentment or anger in her. Nyla answered "forgiveness but not forgetfullness".
Canada's history with residential schools is indefensible, but it has been through telling those hard stories, in families, in communities and as a nation that we can start to move beyond this past. Telling our stories helps us get to a place of forgiveness and continuing to tell the stories ensures we will not forget.
This was my experience of FNL where ALL are welcome and ALL means ALL.