Stories that Create: Foundation Posts Constructing a Frame for Cross-Cultural Knowledge Engagement
This major research paper examines the presence of culturally significant "foundation posts" of principles and knowledge which, I propose, can be seen as connecting diverse Indigenous Nations across Canada. The distinctiveness of these nations is exhibited in their cultural ceremonies, stories, customs and traditions, as well as the ecology of each region but there still seems to be a deeper, intangible that appears to link this diversity. I developed the phrase "foundation posts", to discuss fundamental themes, by linking the principles which sustain Indigenous Knowledge (IK) with the customary importance of Long House posts. House posts are an important aspect of the construction of Long Houses, a historically significant style of residence created by Indigenous communities on the West Coast of Canada. By considering these foundation posts from the perspective of particular Indigenous cultural traditions, we may nurture a set of protocols for equitable, respectful discourse. My research was conducted by utilizing the methodology as outlined by Shawn Wilson in Research is Ceremony, Indigenous Research Methods. The focus of the methodology in Research is Ceremony is the value of relationships. Wilson describes how research begins with the telling of a story, someone's story, and then the researcher analyzes it as well as the relationship between the story and these interrelationships. In particular, I have incorporated Wilson's methodology by recounting a story from each Indigenous community, which illustrates the potential foundation posts of that particular community, nation, or band. In particular, I consider the stories of the Nuu-chah-nulth, Stó:lō and Cree. Each story allows me to explore and pursue any relationships leading to further cross-cultural foundation posts. This permits me to utilize Wilson's methodology centering on relationships but introducing aspects of storytelling, a key element in the oral traditions of Indigenous peoples. My analysis classified analogous words or phrases in exploring comparable foundation posts. I searched for thematic relationships between the principles, similarity of values or process rather than identical terminology. For the thematic analysis I recorded sentences and contextualized words, which were utilized in descriptions of principles or values. The foundation posts are the result of the thematic analysis I conducted from my literary review of core texts. These foundation posts are those which were either discussed directly and/or were thematically recognized across the Nuu-chah-nulth, Stó:lō and Cree nations. The stories are the lessons that each foundation post presents for us to search for the richer meanings within each post, both independently and mutually. These may be essential principles to consider if humanity hopes to restore and reconstruct the ongoing relationships they have with the environment and one another. The stories of the Nuu-chah-nulth, Stó:lō and Cree, may connect us to a deeper part of ourselves and our collective memories. Indigenous stories can link people to the wholeness of relationships, where interconnections with the earth, land and all of life are underpinning all other relationships.