Stories for all ages: Sharon Shorty at the VPL

by Kasra Hassani @Kasra_Ha

No one was looking down at their phone or staring at the walls. Everyone was fully captivated by Sharon Shorty, award-winning story-teller, as she was sharing the stories of the Tlingit Nation once shared with her by her grandmother.

The August 25th event opened with a traditional welcoming song, highlighting the importance of acknowledging the First Nations culture of asking for permission when entering traditional territories. Sharon then started with the magic of her stories and concluded with a lively and engaging question and answer session about everything, from her grandmother, to the first time she went on stage to share stories.

Storytelling plays a central role in the First Nations way of life. Children are educated about life, history, culture, and traditions by stories they hear from their elders. Knowledge and wisdom are passed through generations and generations by way of storytelling. Storytelling teaches us how to listen. In a world filled with distractions, advertisements, short attention spans, and instant gratifications, staying focused on a story and actively listening to the end is an excellent practice and a joyful experience.

Don’t worry if you missed Sharon’s first event. There are two events scheduled for September and more to come in October and November.

There was something comforting in seeing a crowd of all ages gathered on a Tuesday night to listen to stories. On my way out, I was reflecting on the stories my great aunt and grandmother used to tell me when I was a child, while my mother was reflecting on the stories she used to hear from her own great aunt and grandmother.