VI. Sharing Stories, Sharing Songs

Session Date and Time: 
Thursday, 9 May 2019 - 10:45am to 3:15pm
Geography 101
Session Organizer(s): 
Dana Lepofsky

Across cultures and around the world, stories -- both spoken and sung -- are a powerful way to share ethnobiological knowledge.  It has been so from the beginning of time.   In this session, we invite story-tellers and singers to share stories and songs that highlight people's connection to their biological worlds.  Lessons learned about our developing relationships with other creatures, how the world works, and how to act respectfully and responsibly, are among the many themes that will run throughout this session.

Unlike other sessions (which will be limited to 15 minutes per presentation), story tellers and singers in this session will be given a 30 minute slot to share their stories and songs. 

Time Abstract
, Randy - Beecher Bay Elder, Culture Keeper, UVic Alumni, Armed Services Veteran

Randy’s of West Coast NuChaNulth ancestry through his father, Coast Salish Clallum ancestry through his mother. Born in 1943, his grandmother raised him in Kyuqut village as Ooshtikay, in the language, cultural, spiritual and healing traditions of his ancestors. Randy experienced living as a demonized ‘Indian’ in a Christian village; having an unskilled mother with no love for her “Indian” child; blessings and abuses at Residential School. “It was my language and deep connection to Creator that gave me strength to endure”. Coast Salish Longhouse and NuChaNulth Dance traditions bless him. His journey home and abroad, gifted countless opportunities to assist Indigenous and Non-Indigenous peoples and communities. Burial Traditions highlight Indigenous connections to the world, like Randy’s culture’s outdoor burial in relation to all the creatures; and burial cairns with added purposes of land preparation for ecological process while providing for the spiritual, social and physical needs of the community.

Yvette John
, P’eq’sq’oyes Slha’:li’ (White Plume Woman) - Sto:lo Research and Resource Management Centre (SRRMC)

My interest is to educate and share out wonderful healing foods and medicine for a healthier happier life. The abstract I am willing to share is about Identifying Indigenous Wild Plants, their use for Medicine and Food and also for Cultural Traditional ways of life. I will be presenting photos and samples of fresh plants, natural made medicine, teas, and sheep wool dyed with natural plant dyes. I have had a keen interest in plants as I am the third generation to have learned from a Grandmother and my Mother, and now teaching my children. We naturally eat wild plants, wild salmon, wild game as a way of life as much as possible. We are still hunter, fisher woman and plan/berry gatherers on a yearly basis.

All my Relations

P’eq’sq’oyes Slha’:li’, Clinical Herbalist


, Annie - Inuit Community of Makkovik

Annie Evans is an Elder from Adlavik Bay living in the Inuit Community of Makkovik, Nunatsiavut (Labrador). She was raised at her winter home in Adlavik Bay, and spent summers at family fishing places in October Harbour and Strawberry Harbour. At seven years old, Annie Evans went to mandatory boarding/residential school in Makkovik. Her family moved permanently to Makkovik when she was ten. Elder Evans has many different stories to tell about her early years in Adlavik, learning from her family, her time working in the Manse with Moravian Missionaries, her years in Makkovik and at Ben’s Cove, and the lessons she has learned through all parts of her life.

, Richard

The Tiv of central Nigeria have an old tradition of communicating in songs and riddles the names of trees and shrubs.  Common among such songs is, “fa ikyon ati” (know the names of plants). This song, like many others, teaches and promotes the knowledge of Tiv flora among children and youths. Young people are taught riddles and songs like this while on the paths to and from the farms, or on the farms. Fa ikyon ati for example, is so popular that in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, it was used in Elementary Schools to teach pupils about plants in the Tiv areas of Benue State, including in my own. I will share this song as well as my own experiences of learning plants through it. In doing so, I will demonstrate the efficacy of songs and riddles in transmitting Tiv botanical knowledge to successive generations.