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Word Count: 1,354
Native traditions and history were passed down through the generations using the art of storytelling Storytelling was not only useful for Natives in this way but became a part of the tradition and history they passed down to their children Unlike Euro-Canadian people Aboriginal people did not put their oral traditions into writing but have increasingly begun to do so in the present day This may keep these traditions from dying out as many already have but this may also destroy the showmanship and meaning of Aboriginal storytelling This is one of the most important critical debates pertaining to Native literature is the written word destroying the effect of Native oral tradition or is it saving it This essay will show that translating and converting Native oral stories to text may keep them alive longer than those who tell them but the written word will never capture the full effect of Native oral storytelling In the past Native people did not document their history or traditions on paper When the Europeans came their traditions were disregarded because of this fact This and the fact that oral traditions were easily lost with the death of a particular culture or language is the reason why Natives have lost so much of their history As the ethnographer AF Chamberlain wrote of the Indians of Scugog Island These stories are only known to the older generationand will soon be lost to oblivion if not taken down at once Clark xii Since the younger generations of Natives had less interest in their oral traditions the only way to save the traditions was to write them down and this began the trend of Native written literature In this way the Native traditions would live on even if they were not passed on orally Unfortunately the text versions of the stories do not convey everything that the oral stories themselves were intended to When Native oral traditions are collected and transcribed
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