February is not only known for Valentine’s Day and Groundhog Day, but also, this month is significant for Black History Month and Aboriginal Storytelling Month.
In some Indigenous cultures, it is known that the winter months are long, so some Indigenous tribes would use this time to practice certain ceremonies and tell stories. Certain legendary stories such as the trickster stories (known as Wīsahkēcāhk in Cree) were only to be told after the first snowfall. The purpose of this tradition was to help pass the time of the long months of winter.
Now the tradition is still on-going as Saskatchewan celebrates Aboriginal storytelling throughout the month of February. Several events across the province allow people to take part in Aboriginal Storytelling Month, and some are incorporating storytelling in a variety of forms such as the art of puppetry, song and dance, and voices of elders and knowledge keepers.
If you are unable to attend any events nearby, then you can always pick up a copy from our First Nations Language Readers series; these include the Lillooet, Woods Cree, Cree, Blackfoot and Saulteaux books. These small, easy-to-read books are filled with different stories written in the Indigenous languages with English translations and syllabics. Some of these stories tell the origins of tales that were passed down from generation to generation. You will be doing your part in celebrating Aboriginal Storytelling Month by reading these books and others.