Heat up the tea and grab a warm blanket — it’s story time.
Caremongering Inuvik and #NWTLive have teamed up with the Gwich’in Tribal Council, Inuvialuit Regional Corporation and the Town of Inuvik to present a series of podcasts with Elders telling stories of their lives.
Intended to be more inclusive of people who don’t have social media accounts and starting off with respected Elders Lillian Elias and Winston Moses, organizer Jonathon Michel said the goal was to have a new storyteller on a semi-weekly basis.
“Two storytellers have gracefully shared stories at this point, one was shared on the page last week and the other will be shared soon,” he said. “At this point, we’re just getting this storytelling series off the ground and building awareness about both the storytelling and musical aspects of #NWTLive, so there are a few others that have expressed interest in sharing some stories.
“Elders have life experiences and storytelling from life experience can be a unique art form that has a power to allow the listener to feel comfortable or to laugh or both. It’s a true privilege to have an Elder share stories.”
He noted the idea was to help people connect while physical distancing rules were still in effect. So far, the stories have been about growing up in the Beaufort Delta before Inuvik was established, stories of how traditional knowledge was learned and transmitted and of sharing and caring during difficult times.
Co-organizer Mike Lee said the idea came about as COVID-19 restrictions limited the ability of musicians to play together and the desire to connect with people who may not have a lot of experience with internet technology.
“Jonathon and I started discussing ways to speak to Elders who may not have access to the technology to do a livestream. Recording a telephone call seemed possible, and with the right consent and some software, the idea took off,” he said. “A lot of the content is focused around Traditional knowledge, and sharing and life on the land. For many, these are stories the community can relate to, and we’re happy to be of help in capturing these stories and releasing them through #NWTLive.
“When you listen to any of these podcasts, one strong theme is sharing. That single theme helps guide the rest of the series, and that is to continue sharing within our community with the help of these amazing Elders.”
The hope is that once the podcasts make their way through the community, other Elders will listen to them and remember stories of their own and come forward.
“We hope that these stories bring the same kind of joy to others as they’ve brought to us and allow for a sense of connectedness during this difficult time,” said Michel. “If anybody is interested in sharing some stories in this way, you’re very welcome to contact us.”
To take part, the only piece of equipment needed is a phone to record the story. Anyone interested in participating should contact Carmongering Inuvik at firstname.lastname@example.org or by dialing 777-6510.
Listen to Lillian Elias’ story here.