How the story's told makes the difference
To show the difference between indigenous and non-native storytelling techniques, here's one story from the book, told traditionally by treaty commissioner James Wilson:
We haven't changed a word. And note, if this story were to be retold, the narrator would be expected to repeat it word for word, with the same intonation, inflections and pauses. The twist is at the end; remember, we're talking about little kids in this account.
"There's such a discipline involved. One of the stories is from Tobasonakwut Kinew. If you look in the book -- it's page 25 -- Tobasonakwut talks about in the fall, the crows leave and that's when the storytelling begins. That's when his grandmother would gather up all the grand children:
"On the first night, she told the story about Nanaboozhoo. (Nanaboozhoo is a spiritual teacher but a born klutz, who can be counted on to make himself the butt of the joke in any story.)
"And on the second night, she told a story about a bear, third night something else.
"On the 34th night, she stopped. And the kids were all: 'How come? How come they're stopped?' And they asked their grandfather. And he said 'Well, you haven't offered her tobacco.'
'Well we don't have tobacco!"
"And so the grandfather said, 'Well you have to learn the tobacco song if you want to have that tobacco... ' The kids learned the song.
The grandmother said, 'I'll keep telling you the story if you tell me the first story I told you, the second, the third, the fourth and so on.'
"So the kids all got together and the first two were easy. But what happened on the third and the fourth story? And as they started retelling it, they started seeing how everything was connected.
"The discipline involved, people don't realize the discipline involved in oral cultures," Wilson said.
"Tobasonakwut passed away last year. We're lucky there was a man with such beautiful teachings and a lot to give; he's passed on a lot to his children, his family and the broader community. But this (book) is one way your kid from Fort Richmond or from Shamattawa can access people like Tobasonakwut."
NOTE: The late Anishinaabe elder Tobasonakwut Kinew (1936-2012) is remembered as an advocate and teacher of civil liberties and treaty rights, indigenous language, culture, and philosophy. He was born on his father's trapline on Lake of the Woods in 1936 and chosen by elders as a child to be instructed and mentored in the knowledge and traditions of the Anishinaabeg. A survivor of a residential school, he made it his mission to reconcile with the wider Canadian and European society, some of his more public gestures making headlines that served to publicize his work internationally.
In 2009, Kinew presented Pope Benedict XVI with an eagle feather as part of a chiefs' delegation to Rome in a gesture of reconciliation between the Roman Catholic Church and Canada's aboriginal people. Months before he died, Kinew adopted Archbishop of Winnipeg James Weisgerber as his brother in a public ceremony.