Carlson discusses the notion of authenticity in both Western and Native cultures and how this notion functions within their traditions. I want to take his notions further to an international level and contrast these notions of ‘authenticity’ with a news story I followed a few weeks back.


Carlson and the Salish

First let’s look at Carlson’s analysis of Salish narratives. He’s entirely right by stating that by questioning a stories authenticity that narrative is contested and the storyteller is subsequently undermined and doubted. According to Carlson, “Stories that appear to have been unduly influenced or informed by post-contact European events and issues have long been discarded to the dustbin of scholarly interest” (56). However this is a Western process of thinking and limits the truths that are presented through Salish story-telling. For the Salish, the reality and the truth of the story are different. The truth comes through different ways of knowing and the reality becomes irrelevant.

Carlson admits that the relationship between orality and literacy is complicated particularly in regards to contact between Natives and Europeans;

Within the oral traditions, literacy sits alternately at the centre of the Salish world and outside of it. It is simultaneously foreign and indigenous, threatening and protective; it is from the past as well as the present and it looms large in the future. Literacy challenges orality, and therefore Salish notions of self, while at the same time these narratives reveal that literacy is implicitly regarded as something in need of repatriation: a repatriation that, once accomplished, will restore a balance that was earlier disrupted. (44)

Carlson points out that literacy’s difference from orality is that it preserves knowledge and arguably shares the exact same information with a potentially wider audience (48). But orality provides an opportunity to tell a story with opportunity for fluidity – including post-contact details. The story can be the same and still include contemporary audiences and concerns as we see through readings of Harry Robinson. The science of the story doesn’t need to be at the forefront. Whether a story is pre or post-contact is irrelevant to the telling of the story because as the story is passed down from son-to-son so is the information and traditions. This son-to-son linkage allows connections to their ancestral history without requiring literacy. As Carlson argues, it is a new kind of literacy that values personal reputation and oral citing over historical factuality.

Carlson also points out that cumulative stories or prophecies w
ould create authority for the stories (60).

“Within the Salish world by way of contrast, historical accuracy is largely assessed in relation to people’s memories of previous renditions or versions of a narrative and in relation to the teller’s status and reputation as an authority”

Ultimately Carlson calls for a reorganization of how knowledge is collected and presented, specifically in regards to non-Western cultures. The ‘authenticity’ needs to stop being questioned and instead other criteria must emerge and “ that recognizes the plurality of indigenous voices within Aboriginal communities and the historical consciousness that informs those voices and beliefs” (63).



Historical Purity Case Study

The Western treatment of ‘other’ mythologies remains strictly ‘factual’ and aims to provide some form of authenticity. A few weeks back I remember seeing a news article on new information regarding King Tut; namely that a dagger found at his side was in fact made from a meteorite. For me this sparked a thought-process in which I imagined a meteor falling from the sky and people staring up at it and reacting in a certain way whether that be celebration, fear, indifference, or something else, part of me really wants to know. But the articles I read and watched were all focused on the science and the studies that could prove facts. When I googled more about King Tut it was even hard to find what the hieroglyphs within his tomb states and how those contrasted with the scientific stories that are told. Now don’t get me wrong, science is great and we learn stuff, but I want to learn about the culture of Egyptians. I’ve read a few historical fiction novels about Egyptian kings and queens and these narratives really emphasized a few things.

  1. That it isn’t that hard to erase someone from history. Just scratch away the names on every wall in Egypt and hope that someone doesn’t accidently find the tomb that was misplaced to begin with.
  2. The story told (in hieroglyphs or otherwise) isn’t necessarily the story that happened.
  3. Stories are fluid – if a pharaoh wanted to be painted in prime masculine condition then that’s how he would be for the rest of eternity – but science contrasts that notion.
  4. We really know nothing about history. Read this article to see how many questions actually surround King Tut without ever mentioning local mythologies or even hieroglyphs within his tomb (as the mythologies outside of his tomb were literally washed away).

KingTutScience is changing every minute. A common proof of this is that people used to believe the world was flat. But even today, with all our machines and gizmos and gadgets that claim to be able to prove things, new things are happening every day, including finding King Tut’s famous death mask may have had a previous owner. Now for me this sounds like a great story – imagine the person who decided to take the death mask from an infamously powerful queen and add a beard to make it for a man. It’s the little stuff like that that I’m interested in, but my postulations and those that I read in some of my favourite books regarding the 18th Egyptian Dynasty cannot be proven and therefore are not credited with anything resembling authenticity and so those books remain in the fiction section.


I chose my favourite story of the many published online and feel comfort knowing that it was produced by National Geographic – an internationally acclaimed source. So even though there are some postulations in her account of King Tut’s mysteries, it’s okay.


Works Cited

Hawass, Zahi. “King Tut’s Family Secrets.” National Geographic. National Geographic, Sept. 2010. Web. 29 June 2016.

King Tut. Digital image. The Cosmos News. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 June 2016.

AFP. King Tut Dagger. Digital image. News.com.au. News Limited, n.d. Web. 29 June 2016.

Ng, Kate. “King Tutankhamun: New Evidence Suggests Ancient Egyptian Gold Mask Was Made for Heretic Queen Nefertiti.” The Independent. N.p., 27 Nov. 2015. Web. 29 June 2016.

Pruitt, Sarah. “Researchers Say King Tut’s Dagger Was Made From a Meteorite.” History. A&E Television Networks, 3 June 2016. Web. 29 June 2016.

Williams, A. R. “Mystery of King Tut’s Death Solved? Maybe Not.” National Geographic. National Geographic, 7 Nov. 2013. Web. 29 June 2016.

Williams, A. R. “Mystery of King Tut’s Death Solved? Maybe Not.” National Geographic. National Geographic, 7 Nov. 2016. Web. 29 June 2016.


Initial Curiosities

“If Europeans were not from the land of the dead, or the sky, alternative explanations which were consistent with indigenous cosmologies quickly developed” (“First Contact43). Robinson gives us one of those alternative explanations in his stories about how Coyote’s twin brother stole the “written document” and when he denied stealing the paper, he was “banished to a distant land across a large body of water” (9). We are going to return to this story, but for now – what is your first response to this story? In context with our course theme of investigating intersections where story and literature meet, what do you make of this stolen piece of paper? This is an open-ended question and you should feel free to explore your first thoughts.


My first impression of this was to wonder what specifics of this story there were; who else tells it besides Harry; where do they tell it; when has it been told since (part of me even wondered when paper was invented). It’s not that I necessarily need the answers, but that having them would make me feel more comfortable in my knowledge. I understand that gaining this knowledge can be interpreted as limiting to the overall meaning of the story however I find I’m curious about how these themes could come into a story that is so timeless – this could also be the fact that I am reading it in the context of academia and therefore my curiosity is taking precedence.

Only after my initial curiosities did I begin to wonder what the paper might contain but I understand and appreciate that some of the best stories leave that to the imagination. While I tried to make a guess or find some kind of clue in the story as to what might be on the paper, I just couldn’t. I even considered that maybe the paper was even blank or covered in runes.
The story can be looked at two ways; either the Native Americans had the
papiruspaper taken from them; or the Europeans took the paper and used it. The subject of this aspect of the story defines what the paper’s main function was. While it’s obvious to conclude that the paper led to reading and writing that the settlers defined themselves with, its origins within North America can lead to questions such as was this something the Natives were deprived of? Or something that they didn’t need? I find that the story leaves these questions ambiguous and allows individual interpretation. The paper itself seems to be sufficient as a representation of the European aspect of the twins. The twins of the story also rang a bell for me – in the past twins have been pointed out in my classes as loaded with symbolism. From Greek to African to Native American mythologies twins are part of their gods and goddesses, spirits and legends. With something that spreads across this many cultures there will obviously be conflicting ideas in the symbolism, but to me I remember being taught that twins represent perfect balance and Harry’s story reinforces this idea. The twins in this story balance past and present, man and woman, European and Native, nature and paper and many others and from this story an imbalance occurs that leads to the conflict in Canada’s current story.

The story developed throughout this chapter for me and I really enjoyed when Wickwire points out that “although he would never tamper with storylines or fictionalize any part of a story, he incorporated seemingly extraneous details where he felt they belonged. For example, when he learned that whites had landed on the moon, Harry immediately incorporated this detail into his story about Coyote’s son’s trip to and from an upper world” (29). This quote resonates with me because it brings to light how cultures can mix and be successful. Harry adds to his story as he learns more about a people that while different from him, he acknowledges as descendants from his ancestors twins. This flexibility to incorporate present day narratives and those of other cultures into ones that are part of a specific cultural past shows an inclusion that residential schools proved European settlers didn’t understand. As Wickwire puts it, “For Indians, power was located in their hearts and heads; for whites, it was located on paper” (16). I found that the representations within a Christian European context are not as adaptable and instead their notions are those that Wickwire describes as their own mythologies that emphasize a single creator and a linear progression through time, history, and science. For Native Americans their stories are what she refers to as “this timeless zone of relative familiarity” (14) in which stories of the past are brought to actively engage with the present. I admire this and believe that while the stories must have subtly changed over the centuries, the themes ring true and present knowledge to the listeners.

Overall my initial impressions continued to build over the course of the chapter like Wickwire’s did as she continued to hear Harry’s stories and contemplate them after the fact. My immediate reactions after reading the story were to want to learn more, but as the chapter progressed and Wickwire referred back to the story I was able to do the same and to contemplate further and consider different aspects of the story deeper.



Works Cited

Jicha, Kristin. “Myths and Legends about Twins.” Cryptophasia: Twin Language. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 June 2016.

“Native American Legends and Stories About Twins.” Native Languages of the Americas: Preserving and Promoting American Indian Languages. N.p., 2015. Web. 17 June 2016.

“The Invention of Paper.” Robert C. Williams Museum of Papermaking. Institute of Paper Science and Technology at Georgia Tech – Atlanta, Georgia, 13 June 2006. Web. 17 June 2016.

Robinson, Harry. Living by Stories: A Journey of Landscape and Memory. Ed. Wendy Wickwire. Vancouver: Talon, 2005. Print.

Unknown – Den Arnamagnæanske Samling Original. The Last Leaf (f. 100r) of the Codex Runicus Manuscript with the Oldest Musical Notation Found in Scandinavia. Digital image. Wikipedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 June 2016.


Something About Home

It’s easy to claim that home is a symbol. It’s a word we’ve all heard and probably hope to feel some resemblance of at some point. In reading some of the blog posts it was nice to connect to so many of them and think “Hey, I do that too.” This is especially impressive because home is an extremely personal thing, as many posts bravely showcased.

I found that the common threads in our definitions were stability, comfort and most of all – memories. Our sense of home is defined by what has happened to us, what we remember and what has brought us to where we are today. Whether that be finding that “it” feeling on stage in Stephanie’s post, or discovering a rug in Morocco like Ashley that became part of her home, or Cam who relates his heritage to his sense of home; all of these posts I completely related to and their stories reminded me of some of my own memories that also helped build my own complex idea of home.

I see this all as sort of as a Lego House. Everyone builds their “home” slightly different (it may not even take the shape of a house), but you need more than one block and it takes time. After different stages of life and experiences, different parts form. I take care of kids who associate home with “bed”, “parents”, and “food”, but those ideas will be added to and get more complicated as they get older. I remember when I thought home could only be one place, but once I moved for the first time I learned that that wasn’t true and so my definition morphed to adapt to my experiences.

Lego Kids Home

Obviously a lot of these memories (though not all) are made with loved ones (whether that be family, friend or anything in between) and I believe that that’s something we can all relate to and be happy about. These are the people that I found provide the stability and comfort in our lives that so many of us associated with home.

I know that home isn’t made by a specific combination of people and places, but I know mine is because of the memories of comfort, security and happiness that they provided me – especially the crazy stories my sisters and I share. While I love reading stories about people who create their own home based on their own rules and I read their stories with the same vigour as eating a tub of ice cream, but know that it isn’t for me. Everyone has a different build than I do, but we can all relate to at least one block in that building and I think that’s pretty cool.


Works Cited

Bullen, Cam. “2:2 Home.” Web log post. Cam Bullen’s ENGL 470 Blog. UBC WordPress, 6 June 2016. Web. 10 June 2016.

LEGO. Two kids build with large blocks. Digital image. Lego Education. LEGO, 2016. Web. 10 June 2016.

Mather, Katie. “28 Childhood Memories You Can Only Make If You Grew Up With Siblings.” ThoughtCatalog. The Thought & Expression Co., 25 Aug. 2016. Web. 10 June 2016.

Michaud, Stefanie. “2:2 This Was My 8th Move in Less than 3 Years.” Web log post. Summer2016course. UBC WordPress, 6 June 2016. Web. 10 June 2016.

Nicholson, Ashley. “2.2 Finding Home In Unlikely Places.” Web log post. Ashley Nicholson’s English 470A Blog. UBC WordPress, 6 June 2016. Web. 10 June 2016.

Willett, Megan. “A California Couple Built This Portable ‘Tiny House’ For $30,000.” Business Insider: Life. The Business Insider, 31 Mar. 2014. Web. 10 June 2016.


Home To Me

It starts with a blanket.

It was used to cuddle up in my secret spot reading a book cover-to-cover; it was dragged outside to sit on for picnics; it was used for family movie nights even though it was never big enough; it was even part of some of the most epic blanket forts that have ever existed. And after all this it’s a little worse for wear, but it’s still there; at home.

Linus Blanket

Right now that place that I’ve named home is a red-bricked dwelling with a forest behind it and a big grass field next to it. There’s a basketball net in the driveway and tulips that my mom slaves away to bring back year after year. But this is only the beginning.

Then there’s the backyard.

It hasn’t been the same over the years and the one I have now is much different from when I was 8, but it’s always had the necessities that encouraged the adventures of my sisterhood. My family has always had a strong belief in adventures and testing and learning about our boundaries and surroundings. This place was the home to summers full of home-made slip-n-slides, mud fights, trampoline accidents, pool competitions and other adventures we came up with. In my memories there are sprinklers that we definitely broke from over-use and a little pink and blue plastic playhouse that we had to give away recently. And there’s always my Beppe’s (‘grandma’ in Fries) voice in my head saying, “You need more fresh air, girl.”

And then there’s my room.

It’s overflowing with mementos from my past from taping concert wristbands and passes to my desk, to useless souvenirs I’ve picked up from around the world that remind me of everywhere I’ve been, and a map showing all the places I want to go.

The family that comes with the house is pretty cool too.

My sisters who (while fighting all the while we were growing up) helped me come up with some amazing plans, and some that were rather questionable including a 3-person carrying-on-the-shoulders stunt that practically gave my mom a heart attack. Home is where for every birthday, soccer game, talent show and holiday my very Dutch grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins all get together and just spend time together; sometimes it’s in the pool, sometimes it’s playing football, sometimes it’s even making up our own games or telling embarrassing stories to each other. These are the people who I want to make proud and who I know couldn’t ever not be.

The homes if my heritage are also somewhere in this mix.Friesland

Some of it is in South America and other parts are in India – both of which I plan to visit one day. There’s also a home in Wons, Friesland in the Netherlands, the place my grandfather grew up and have told me millions of stories about. I went there this last summer and stayed with relatives in a town that is smaller than most shopping malls. I saw the house where my grandfather grew up, the fields he raised dairy cows on, the bar where he had his first drink, and the World War II bunkers that he played in. All while doing this I proudly wore a Canadian flag sewed to my knapsack and told my relatives stories about what Canada is like (in broken Fries and English) because a homeland for me is one to take with you when you’re away.

Finally there’s the town I grew up in.

You probably couldn’t find it on a map and it’s the sort of everyone-knows-everyone place that sitcoms and horror movies love to showcase. Together with a few other small towns around us we’ve got classic small town sights like tourism farms (for city folk, yes this is a real thing), historical sites, and Canadian maple syrup lodges. There’s also the story I tell everyone about my hometown. You see, it’s kind of in the middle of nowhere. We have a butcher, a baker and a candlestick maker and there’s even a general store. I tell people this and they laugh. I like my hometown’s character. It’s unique and slightly cartoonish and it’s always nice to go back there.

Home is constantly changing for me. I traveled cross-country to come to school at UBC and that meant leaving it all behind. But it isn’t the first time I’ve had to leave a home and it won’t be the last. When I go I have my few things that were given to me that I can take anywhere and make me feel just as safe; a bracelet with charms my grandmother has filled over the years with symbols of her favourite memories; a photo of my mom making a funny face that she doesn’t know exists; a photo album showing my sisters and me growing up; and a silly wooden cow given to me by my best friend. It’s the place I’ll always go back to and the home I’ll bring with me no matter where I go.

Works Cited

Things to Do: Campbellville. Campbellville. Destination Campbellville Community Association, 2014. Web. 5 June 2016.

Rosin, Hanna. The Overprotected Kid. The Atlantic. The Atlantic Monthly Group, Apr. 2014. Web. 5 June 2016.

Schulz, Charles M. Peanuts. United Feature Syndicate Inc., 1990. Web. 5 June 2016.

Springridge Farm. Springridge Farm, 2016. Web. 5 June 2016.