Digital storytelling as a method of healing and connecting communities

My research is on digital storytelling and a common theme I am finding is the use of this form of media in order to heal and to connect communities. There are some wonderful digital stories out there told from many different groups.  I wish I had time to post them all up here. Maybe next time!

1. Adelson, N. Olding, M., Narrating Aboriginality On-Line: Digital Storytelling, Identity and Healing, (2013) Journal of Community Informatics Vol.9 (2)

This is a link to a scholarly article offering an “alternative perspective on digital technologies as creatively engaged tools of healing and empowerment in ways that effectively challenge issues of encroachment while at the same time going beyond standard configurations of medical innovation.” This article discusses the way Aboriginal people are using digital storytelling as a way of healing from colonization and empowering their people, and as an actual method of health education.

2. Métis Digital Stories for Healing, Connection, and Community

This is a link to a new article about how a community event was used to share many aspects of Métis culture, and included digital storytelling. The storytelling was an important aspect of the event and had an impact on the people who attended. The digital stories were shown to a wider audience at a later date.

I love this quote about the impact of the digital storytelling:

“I think the benefit of digital storytelling is three-fold: it brings Métis people together, shows us how similar we are in our lives, and it will help preserve what being Métis means.“ Jennifer LaFontaine, MNO citizen and Métis Digital Storytelling Project organizer.–media/news/metis-digital-stories-for-healing,-connection-and-community

3. Voices in the Wind Productions – Judy Iseke

This website is rich with digital stories and films created primarily by Métis filmmakers. I love  two of the films in particular,” A Living History of Métis Families” and “Grandmothers of the Métis Nation,” because they give a voice to the people of the community.

4. Screening the Past – Victorian Indigenous Communities and Digital Storytelling

This website gives an insight as to the motivations behind why many come to create their digital stories. I am so glad that I found this link because whereas I have found many websites with the final product, this site actually talks about the journey to create the digital story. I particularly enjoyed the anecdote about the Aunty who came to the workshop with two photographs and her coils for weaving. She didn’t have a story in mind, but with the assistance of the facilitator and an Uncle, she was able to create something meaningful. I think this blog demonstrates how something like a digital storytelling workshop can bring a community together.

5. Sharing Stories Foundation – To Preserve the Culture and Language of Indigenous People

While reading about this program offered in Australia it sounds like they offer workshops, lesson plans, and resources to teachers interested in creating digital storytelling projects with their Indigenous students. They provide entire kits of materials if needed and work very closely with the community to create the project.

The Foundation itself supports Indigenous cultures to “hold, share and transmit languages, stories and culture for present and future generations.” (About Us tab) I am reluctant to post the large and very good statement they have on their About Us tab regarding the responsiveness of their work to concerns raised by Elders community members, and Cultural Custodians, but it is worth a read if you have an interest in this area.

I was interested in knowing their source for the statement  that every two weeks the last speaker of a language passes away somewhere on the planet. I was surprised  and saddened by this, if it is indeed true but without a source, I had a hard time accepting it. Upon further research, I discovered that this claim is based on an inaccurate estimate. The numbers are still shockingly high, but not nearly at the level stated on the webpage. You can find more accurate information about language loss here:

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