Ey Swayel (Good Day)

Indigenous Storywork as discussed here stems from the work of Q’um Q’um Xiiem, Dr. Jo-ann Archibald, Professor Emeritus, UBC Faculty of Education.

Welcome to the Indigenous Storywork website. Q’um Q’um Xiiem tel skwi:x. My name is Q’um Q’um Xiiem, which means ‘strong clear water.’ I am also known as Jo-ann Archibald. I am Stó:lō, which means River, so Stó:lō are People of the River located in southwestern British Columbia, Canada. I also have St’at’imc ancestry. The St’at’imc Nation is located in the interior of British Columbia, along the southern Coast Mountains and Fraser Canyon Areas.

The purpose of this website is to help educators learn about Indigenous cultures and ways of knowing, predominantly through Indigenous traditional and life-experience stories. For many years, I learned about the important role of stories from Coast Salish Elders and other Indigenous storytellers. Stories can guide the development of our heart, mind, body, and spirit. Through Elders’ guidance and mentorship, I developed a way to appreciate and understand the beauty and power of Indigenous stories, which is called, Indigenous storywork. I invite you to join me as I reflect upon and share what I have learned about Indigenous storywork. Throughout our journey together, a few questions will guide us: What is Indigenous storywork? How can it be used in education at any level? What resources could be used and how best to use them?

At the beginning of Coast Salish cultural gatherings, the spokesperson who is guiding the event will say “My dear ones, our work is about to begin.” When the guests hear those words, they give their full attention to the words and actions that are subsequently shared. By implication, the term storyWORK signals that Indigenous stories are to be taken seriously and that we as storytellers and storylisteners/readers/learners can work together to learn from and with these stories.

Please join me as I reflect on the role of Indigenous stories: (1) Indigenous pedagogies; (2) the role of storytelling in Indigenous education; (3) ways to help children and other learners make story-meaning; (4) protocols for using Indigenous stories; (5) contexts for storytelling; and (6) educators’ considerations for using Indigenous stories today. This video is like a map that shows important geographical places and markers to guide journeyers. You may want to view this video first to guide your storywork journey. A question to keep in mind when watching this video is, What ideas will help me get started on the pathway to working with stories in meaningful ways?