Tag Archives: Agnieszka Pawlowska-Mainville

Tangible bones store intangible culture, memories and stories

Editor’s Opinion: Europe‘s written genealogies go back hundreds of years and we have traditions that appear to have risen out of events that took place thousands of years ago, yet many Canadian families appear to be divorced from their roots. They do not know who their ancestors were, how they lived and have only vague ideas (like ‘England,’ ‘Germany’ or Ireland etc) of where they came from. Traditions that were revered by generations past have long been dismissed as myths and fairy tales. Some Cortes families have a ‘sense of place’ that goes back for a few generations and many more have adopted this ‘magic island.’ Yet collectively, the question remains: how can a people who appear to have lost a sense of their own heritage, value the cultural depth of others?

By Sheri Narine, Windspeaker, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Until federal politicians start “valuing people in their own homes”, intangible cultural heritage will remain misunderstood and underappreciated, said Agnieszka Pawlowska-Mainville, author of Stored in the Bones.

“They always assume that intangible cultural heritage has something to do with materials, museums, archives, when really sometimes it just means valuing people in their own homes. Like a grandmother teaching her grandson or granddaughter how to cook, a father using his own hands with his own niece, nephew to do some kind of carving or some kind of sewing. It’s that element that I think (there’s) a lot of misunderstanding about,” said Pawlowska-Mainville, an associate professor in First Nations Studies at the University of Northern British Columbia.

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