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SISF 2019: Q&A with Louise Profeit-LeBlanc

Tell us an interesting feature of traditional storytelling in your country.

Indigenous storytelling is very diverse and is only in the last 20 years beginning to make a comeback with many of the younger generation discovering their own through knowing the ancient
stories.

How did you become a storyteller?

My grandmother was a great teller, and with all her friends, it was simply through osmosis that I picked up the art of storytelling. After her passing I was mentored by Angela Sidney, one of the best of the Tagish tellers from Southern Yukon.

What is so magic about storytelling?

It traverses the earthly and spiritual world but keeps us grounded by the constant reminder that although we are only human, we are capable of meeting all the challenges of our lives.

Do you have a favourite story?

Yes. My favourite story right now is Atsä män – Old Woman Lake.

What was the last story you performed or told?

I told the story of “Klin Nite Nedra-eh”.

Is storytelling becoming a lost art?

Yes and no. There were many years when Indigenous people didn’t have access to their story sources as they were in residential schools. Now with the application of technologies, there is an increase of location of the old stories. Many Indigenous people in Canada are also retrieving their original languages through story and songs.

What is the biggest challenge storytellers face?

The biggest challenge is to find suitable venues to share these stories to maintain the respect required for them, especially the ancestral stories.

This year’s Festival theme is Beyond Words. What does Beyond Words mean for you?

This is all about oral tradition and also about the inner more spiritual meaning of Indigenous stories, as well as providing the wisdom required for this age in which we live, where many do not listen to others when they have stories to share. Ancient knowledge holds knowledge that can benefit all of humanity.

Can you tell us about a time when you have been storytelling that connected you with another teller or listener beyond words?

Do you mean the help that I receive from storytellers who are now in the spirit world? I usually introduce my stories by indicating that I only am the storykeeper and that the person who originally told it is the one who directs the story being told.

How do you imagine being part of the SISF 2019 will be?

I look forward to being able to honour my Scottish ancestry from my great grandparents who immigrated to Canada in the late 1800s.I look forward to telling some of the history of this
marriage of my two ancestries to tell a good story.

Indigenous culture/language is a focus for SISF 2019: How important is heritage and culture for you? Tell us something in your own language. 

Ideah doh ho yeah! How is the world treating you? Soh Thun? Not too shabby!

As part of #SISFBeyondWords, our Global Lab explores the principles and goals of The Earth Charter Initiative and how storytelling can positively impact on this. What do you feel is the role of storytellers in the 21st century?

My responsibility as a storyteller is to share the strengths of the people who lived on the land from since the beginning of time. It is also important that my stories share the way in which my people lived and continue to live in a respectfully manner to honour the earth and all living things which provide life for us.

Open Hearth
Tuesday 22 October at 8pm (2hrs)

Book Tickets

In Conversation with Louise Profeit-LeBlanc
Wednesday 23 October at 5pm (50mins)

Book Tickets

Scotland & Canada: Stories from the Yukon
Wednesday 23 October at 6.30pm (1hr)

Book Tickets