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The True Story of Pocahontas > Perspective/authenticity

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message 1: by MeerderWörter (new)

MeerderWörter | 120 comments Mod
We are reading a book that is sacred oral history written down.

It is oral history, and thus often dismissed. But what we have to keep in mind is, that this is another way to keep track of history.

First, I would like to remind you all, as Delores Schilling has said, a Mohawk woman herself: "All History Starts out as Oral History." https://twitter.com/DelSchilling/stat...
It starts out as oral history because everything that is written down somewhere, in whichever language, with whatever symbol system, was first deemed important enough to be written down.

Actually, there are advantages of oral history over written-down history. Languages evolve, and so you will never lose knowledge based on the fact that you cannot read something anymore because the language has too much evolved.
The other thing is, oral history isn't just people passing on stories from one generation to the next, it is done in a way so that it remains as accurate as possible and it's not just everyone telling stories from the past, it is not playing telephone/Chinese whispers.


message 2: by Pam (last edited Aug 29, 2018 03:58AM) (new)

Pam | 93 comments What's fascinating to me is the dislike or lack of awareness for of Oral tradition from the Western Civilization and yet some of the classics and historically values tales were oral stories: The Odyssey, Beowulf. Etc

Really before the printing press and before religion helped disseminate reading/writing to those not in the ruling class; oral historians kept note of geneology, battles, and important details of courtly life.

Outside of Europe, though, I'm not quite sure if there is a dislike or incredibility attached to oral tradition. Look at Quran recitations. Almost 2,000 yrs and the same words are still sung in the same language of Muhammad (PBUH). Uniting the billions of Muslim followers no matter which nation they call home.


message 3: by Holly (new)

Holly (goldikova) The ancient Celts practiced the tradition of oral history. Not because they didn't have written language, it was because they believed that writing everything down make the brain weak. They believed that a human mind was capable of storing all the needed information.

I'm not going to say they were wrong.


message 4: by Pam (new)

Pam | 93 comments I think thats probably the issue.

Ancient Celts
Germanic tribes
Ancient Greece
Sumaria

These are all posed as old or ancient people and not living, breathing societies. I e. It's quaint and acceptable for the ancients to use this tradition. Quite "backward" for someone today to do the same.


message 5: by Nadine (last edited Aug 30, 2018 05:21AM) (new)

Nadine ♥ (misshappyreading) | 32 comments Holly wrote: "The ancient Celts practiced the tradition of oral history. Not because they didn't have written language, it was because they believed that writing everything down make the brain weak. They believe..."

I didn't know that. That's very interesting.

Of cause we can't compare the 21st century with ancient times. They had a 'limited' amount of stories/history, as they didn't have access to the history from all around the world, like we do know. (or at lease limited access)

I like the quote in Meerder's post:
It starts out as oral history because everything that is written down somewhere [...] was first deemed important enough to be written down.

Very true.


message 6: by Pam (new)

Pam | 93 comments Keith wrote: "the British Library has made a point of cataloging oral history projects in the UK"

That's awesome! Great link, thanks!


message 7: by MeerderWörter (new)

MeerderWörter | 120 comments Mod
Pam wrote: "Keith wrote: "the British Library has made a point of cataloging oral history projects in the UK"

That's awesome! Great link, thanks!"


I wish I could say that of the National Library in Vienna.

Well, back to topic.
The important thing to realise is, that oral history the way Western societies do them and Indigenous Nations do them, that's different.
European societies do them by just talking from one person to the other, like my grandmother telling me that her grandfather came from Moravia to Austria.
While Indigenous Nations have specific ways to make sure that information isn't lost, it's not just some chatting, for lack of a better word.


message 8: by Robert (new)

Robert Smart | 38 comments Yes, oral history has been practiced for a long period of time. Look at religious texts. They started out as stories of first hand accounts of people who witnessed things and were told things and retold the history of Christ, Muhammad and so on. They were handed down to people in sacred positions to uphold the integrity of the history told. But... They are all human! With their own thoughts, feelings and opinions. Do we really think that god hates people for being different... gay, lesbian, transgendered, learning impaired, white, black, male, female and so on and so forth? Then why do religious historical texts that were written from oral first hand accounts have such biases. Humans created them!!! As they retold the stories and changed them over time to however they were feeling or whatever was prevalent in society at the time of the tale being told or accounted. Biases are real and have a real effect we all see them everyday.
So how with all of that being said how do we see through to the heart of what oral histories are telling us and find the hidden truths within them? As I said similarly in another discussion, All sides in all situations want to believe that they are on the right side of history. In general everyone’s accounts can’t be right and everyone’s accounts can’t be wrong. So how can we decipher where the truth lies?
Do we veiw all sides and try to find a common denominator?
Do we go with what our hearts tell us is correct or right (another human fault which will create bias)?
Do we takes things with a grain of salt so to speak and always doubt or question what is being told?

I mean this as a general question or thought and not as a sole reflection on the story of Pocahontas.

I know I babbled on with this one a bit.


message 9: by Pam (last edited Sep 04, 2018 02:24PM) (new)

Pam | 93 comments Robert wrote: "So how with all of that being said how do we see through to the heart of what oral histories are telling us and find the hidden truths within them? As I said similarly in another discussion, All sides in all situations want to believe that they are on the right side of history. In general everyone’s accounts can’t be right and everyone’s accounts can’t be wrong. So how can we decipher where the truth lies? "

So very true.

I go back to Krista Tippett on this one “You can disagree with another person's opinions. You can disagree with their doctrines. You can't disagree with their experience.”

So I completely agree that we should take things with a grain of salt. We should review what people are offering and pick out fact vs opinion. While also noting what was the impact of this time on their family (as the mentioned the sister gave most of the third person narrative), on their culture and way of life.

I can question how they are presenting themselves, but I cannot question what effect and the burden put on them.


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