“It’s acknowledging our people”: depth of shared Aboriginal culture for Saskatchewan Storytelling Month.

Culture and tradition are shared with people of all ages and backgrounds during Indigenous Storytelling Month in Saskatchewan.

Elder Hazel Dixon, a well-known storyteller in Regina, uses her stories to combine Aboriginal culture with life lessons like manners, patience and kindness.

“It’s really important that we do what we can to keep our culture alive,” Dixon said. “Knowing how we did things then, and how we still do, is really important. It’s educational, but it’s acknowledging our people.

Her 13 stories are being shared via video until the end of February at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum (RSM) in its Be Kind online learning lab.

Dixon said she considers several elements when crafting a story.

“First of all, I look at the entertainment value. It takes me a long time to come up with something that I think I can say to everyone, from ages 3 to 93,” Dixon said.

She said the lessons and transmission of Indigenous history are also key factors.

“(It’s) the why and the how and things like that, because we didn’t have a written language,” she said.

His stories focus on animals and nature, sometimes using puppets or other props to help engage his audience. The themes she covers range from helping others and bullying to how the months of the year were created.

“I hope it will give them an appreciation for our culture, how colorful it is and the things it brings,” she said. “Or look at a different aspect of culture. People only assume a certain thing, and it leads to something else.

Theresa Walter, First Nations program specialist at RSM, said the museum hopes the public will better understand the importance of oral traditions in Indigenous communities.

“It’s a way of specifically educating young people,” she says. “Stories tell us many things. They tell us our place in the world, who we are, where we come from and our relationship to each other and plants and animals, and also teach us morals like how to be kind, how to share, how to love, how to give.”

Dixon’s stories are also shared with students in Regina’s public and Catholic schools. His videos have even reached schools in Ontario.

“It gives me warm fluff,” Dixon said. “The fact that they’re sitting there and enjoying it warms me deeply.”

The exhibit at RSM, which features Dixon’s videos and hands-on activities, is open through Friday. The videos are also available on the RSM website and on social media.

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