Oral Tradition

Robin Ridington



The Dunne-za, or Beaver Indians, are Athabaskan-speaking hunting people of the Peace River area of British Columbia and Alberta.  Their stories, like those of many other First Nations people, circle around and touch one another in complex patterns of resonance.  Before the Dunne-za came into contact with a literate tradition, they experienced the text of each story as an event, not a document.  A story existed in the vibration of its voicing. It existed in the shared memory from which the storyteller called it and to which he or she gave it in return.  A story's beginning or end reflected the situation of its teller and listener as well as canonical conventions of plot and character.  A story took place simultaneously in the real time of its telling and in the mythical time in which it occurred.  For narrator and listener beginning and end were points of knowingly woven entry and departure.  They were like the entries and departures of a Dunne-za dancer when he or she moves in or out of the dreamer's dance circle.
 
 

Other Native American gems:
Faith In Our Dreams - Thoreau
Naraya Poetry-Song of the Wind River Shoshone Ghost Dance
Havasupai Farewell Song
The Threefold Miracle
Scroll of Timothy
Worship
I Ching
Webs of Significance
Deeds
Hanukah - an interpretation
Satchel Paige
Experience
Speaking With God
Right Brain