“Stories can empower. Stories can bring people together. Stories can be instructive,” says the University of Northern British Columbia.
The university and Nak’azdli First Nation are partnering up to facilitate inter-generational story-telling, which will aid in preserving stories for years to come.
The program is co-lead by Dr. Shannon Freeman, who is an assistant professor of nursing at UNBC and Jenny Martin, Nak’azdli Health Director, stated a Jan. 23 news release.
Martin and Freeman brought Elders, and children in grades 6 and 7 together to share stories and learn from each other.
The Elders shared their stories with students, passing down knowledge from one generation to another. The children then recorded the stories, added imagery and sounds to create digital versions of the stories that can be shared with community members for generations to come
“It’s a win for the children because they loved learning technology and enjoyed the stories, and it’s a win for the Elders because they loved coming out and could see that the children were enthusiastic,” Freeman says.
“The Elders felt valued.”
Freeman also added that the program works well with the school as the project is aligned with curriculum.
“The project enables children to be users of technology rather than being recipients of something taught with technology,” she added.
Their research is published in the Canadian Journal on Aging, titled Use of a Digital Storytelling Workshop to Foster Development of Intergenerational Relationships and Preserve Culture with the Nak’azdli First Nation: Findings from the Nak’azdli Lha’hutit’en Project.
Martin said the First Nation conducted a survey and found that Elders in the community felt lonely.
By participating in this project, Elders really “Enjoyed going to school and sharing their stories,” she added.
“This workshop aligned with the British Columbia school curriculum, fostered inter-generational relationships between Elders and youth, helped preserve cultural identity, and facilitated opportunity for meaningful contribution for Elders and youth to their community,” Freeman wrote in her research abstract.