Kings questioning of authenticity bring me to think about cuisine and cookbooks. What is AUTHENTIC anymore? Historically, cookbooks started to show exotic stories and use of ingredients from privileged colonizers who could visit these distant places, have access to write about them, go back home and then profit from them. You still see this to this day. We were arguing about this in a civil way in one of my food classes one time. Look at the cookbook “Thug Kitchen” and its authors for example. Who can freely use these contexts and not be seen less than thanks to their race? So I often ask myself, who is saying the story? Who is profiting?

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“Why do we NOT connect to certain stories? Is it the storyteller? How the story is told? The story itself?” – Erika Horn

Great questions, Erika! I think we do not connect to certain stories because people tend to prioritize their own stories/experiences. Therefore, if the story being told doesn’t have anything to do with the interests due to the experiences of the person, then I think the person looses interest. Maybe it is the tone of the storyteller as well, that either engages or disengages its audience. To add, I think it has to do with timing of what is going on in the story. We live for that suspense/tension part so if it comes too late I think interest could be lost. King stated “one of the tricks to storytelling is, never to tell everything at once, to make your audience wait (p.7).”

When do we tell stories? – Rebecca Williams

I actually think about this a lot because this is my theory: food influenced creation of language and music. Lullabies in story form are still prevalent in hunter gatherer societies. For example, I spoke with Robbie Littlefield and she translated many Tlingit lullabies to me. Many of them had knowledge of where food was, how to hunt/cook, and gender roles. So I think stories were first created to pass down information for survival. Nowadays, we don’t have to think of food as much because it is so easily accessible, stories have taken on a role to add on different subjects, scenarios, etc.

Meet the Bowhead Whale Hunters of Northern Alaska

“Stories portraying indigenous communities as degraded or destitute miss their complexity”
This quote made this article stand out to me. Many times it is an outsider that writes articles from Native Alaskan communities. I posted this article up and my aunt shamed them for hunting such a peaceful animal as the whale, as she sat behind her computer, able to buy whatever piece of chicken, steak or fish she wants from the store at any time. See, we that live in Western societies have become so desensitized with food and animals. Yes, they hunted one whale, but we have sometimes three different kinds of animals/animal products in one meal (ex. bacon, egg, butter on toast). We don’t have to raise and cull the animal we are to consume, we don’t have to witness it being killed, we don’t have to use each and every part of the animal to make sure it gets the respect it deserves. And if we don’t let the people in these communities speak about their OWN experiences or why they do it or their sharing process or that they even have a whale ceremony to celebrate the whale, we will continue to view them in a sort of “savage” way of being.

PIN

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My main take away and what I am constantly thinking of is who is saying the story. Do we only give value to stories if they are physically written down? I think of King’s story comparing Native worlds creation vs. the Bible written perspective. Two different epistemologies. Two different ways of narrating. Two different forms of passing down knowledge (story telling vs. written book). Is the Bible just famous because it has been one of the oldest books even though that really just means it has avoided being burned down by colonizers, just as other places whose libraries were burned? Just looked at the route and found McDonald Creek and made me think. What about naming places? Why do most modern day places take the written name of the colonizer? Here in Sitka many places have a sign of their Tlingit name, but others remain that name the colonizer gave it. We literally have a “No Name” Creek. Is it really no name or does one just not exist in your way of knowing?

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