Telling the stories of his people

Indigenous storyteller speaking in Prince Albert Monday

Stories saved Joseph Naytowhow’s life.

The Indigenous storyteller, knowledge keeper and motivational speaker will be in Prince Albert Monday at Sask Polytech as a part of aboriginal storytelling month.

The local campus is hosting two hours of workshops from 9:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. before Naytowhow takes the stage at noon.

“I might do a little bit of a contemporary spoken word, and also some traditional Cree storytelling. It’s a combination of that, and a little bit of music, and how music can be applied to a story.

Naytowhow believes language is essential to one’s identity.

“Language is the foundation of the way we move about, the way we think and the way we feel the earth,” he said.

“That’s what I try to get across. Understand who you are, understanding your language, understanding the ceremonies and the spiritual aspects of your culture.”

For Naytowhow, stories carry significant power. When he was 20, having been through the residential school system, it was the stories of his ancestors that brought him back from the brink.

“Those stories kept me going. Otherwise I wouldn’t be around today. I’d be dead,” he said.

“I really believe that. Stories seemed to link me into something that was far greater than that thought of ending my life as a human being because of the difficulties I experienced through residential school.”

For more on this story, please see the Feb. 11 print or e-edition of the Daily Herald.