In one of my university history classes, we were lucky enough to have Nellie McClung's grand-daughter, Marcia McClung, as a guest speaker. She told us her grandmother's story through memories and conversations with other family. The details were passed down to her through her parents and then to her.
My class and I learned things about Nellie we would never had learned about her through all the books and movies. We learned the oral history.
Last Wednesday, I went to my first Oral History Tour at The Forks.
We learned the history of the indigenous people through stories that Clarence, an elder, was told by his elders and family – stories that have been passed down through generations.
As we walked from the foots of the St. Boniface Cathedral to the Oodena Celebration Circle, he told us an incredible story about how a single feather gave a culture back the remains of their chief.
He brought us to the Red River and told us the story of how the river got its name.
Clarence described the significance of the dream-catcher by describing the one his mother made for him and hung over him while he slept.
As we all stood in the centre of the Oodena Celebration Circle, half-an-hour past the end of the tour, people continued to ask questions about the indigenous community's past, present, and future.
I learned a story that I would never have learned from history books and documentaries. I learned the Oral History.
Join Clarence and his wife, Barbra, on the next Oral History Tour and learn more about Winnipeg's history than you would from a Google search tomorrow, Wednesday, July 27 at 10:00 am. If you can't make it during the week, there will also be Oral History Tours on August 6th and 7th at 10:00 am.
- Laurie Brand at The Forks
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