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Makes sure that the audience is listening

James Alexander Teit (15 April 1864 — 30 October 1922) was an anthropologist, photographer and guide who studied Interior Salish First Nations peoples in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He married a First Nations woman from the Thompson River area and lived amongst her family.  He published a collection of stories in 1898.

You will be reading through this collection entitled “Traditions of the Thompson River Indians of British Columbia” then responding to it based on what you have learned in this section. Start by skimming through the book for ten or fifteen minutes. Be sure to get a sense of what is written in the introduction then read a few of the stories to get a sense of them.

You will then write a response in which you answer the following:

In what sense are the stories in this collection actually the stories of the Thompson River Indians and in what sense are they not?

Consider the following ideas regarding oral literature in BC First Nations as covered in this section:

  • storyteller has a personal way of speaking that gets the attention of the listeners
  • knows when and where certain stories can be told
  • brings meaning to the audience
  • recognizes the audience and adjusts the story accordingly
  • performs the story – uses gestures, may sing, dance or wear a mask
  • makes sure that the audience is listening

Your response will recognize that Teit’s collection is a printed text written in English. You are reading it more than a century later, completely out of the context in which the stories were originally experienced.

Format

1. Short introduction which sets up your topic, references the introduction to Teit’s book, and presents a thesis (the answer to the question presented to you above).

2. Main body of one to three paragraphs in which you:

  • reference at least three stories in the collection
  • clearly apply the ideas in this section to this story collection
  • lend support to your thesis

3. Short conclusion in which you reinforce your main points.

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