Indigenous Perspectives Society

IN Perspective

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The importance of story-telling

IPS has had the pleasure of working with two co-op students for the past 4 months. There has been a lot of shared learning and we are pleased to post some words from Heather Jenkins, one of our students about her experiences here at the Society.

By Heather Jenkins

It’s been said that there are stories everywhere; we just have to hear them. I’ve found that surprisingly true. Often when you really listen, the everyday stories people tell are really interesting, complex tales of human nature and relationships. Most blockbuster documentaries like 20 Feet from Stardom and Hoop Dreams are simple stories of ordinary people leading lives just like ours, even though their stakes seem so much larger. But they aren’t, not really.

There are stories everywhere here at the Indigenous Perspectives Society too; sometimes it’s Elders or community leaders or even my coworkers. My time here has been an amazing opportunity to hear and share the stories of those who wish to tell them. As part of the media team I have filmed and edited several interviews, all where exceptional. But there have been a few stories that resonated with me, hopefully well into the future.

During one of my first interviews a mother told me about her adopted child. One day this child proudly declared themselves to be the luckiest child in the world: Why? They had both a ‘tummy mummy’ and an adopted mom, they knew they were loved and cherished by both, so they knew also that their love had grown during adoption. They knew that for them love would never shrunk, only grow.

During another interview I learned how a man came to realize that violence would destroy his life. So he began the quest of his lifetime, aiding others so that they could also see that violence was destroying their lives. During this journey the man collected several degrees and a lifetime of colourful stories.

As a writer, filmmaker, anthropologist, student, and human being, I firmly believe that listening is a skill which we are never done mastering. There is always more to learn and further to grow. This belief compels me in my desire is to share stories with as many as possible, to use my knowledge and skills to let storytellers reach a wider audience so that others can continue to grow and learn as I hope to do. It is my wish that working with the society will help me become the storyteller I want to be.

It’s an honour to hear everyone’s story, and it’s an honour to use my filmmaking skills to share these stories with a larger audience.