ERIC Number: ED353096
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1992-Mar-4
Reference Count: N/A
(Other) Ways of Speaking: Lessons from the Dene of Northern Canada.
Chambers, Cynthia M.
Western European forms of discourse have been foisted upon the world as the universal value-neutral reference point. External standards have been used to assess aboriginal discourse, particularly in public contexts such as schools and courtrooms. These standards assume that there is one single correct way to proceed (to talk, write, argue, teach), and that ways of knowing and proceeding are universal and foundational. The Dene remind us that all knowledge is "storied," that is, knowing and communicating are always partial (no one knows the whole story) and contextualized (all stories are rooted in a particular time, place, and set of sociocultural conditions). Ethical forms of communication (including teaching/learning) require a balance between narration and listening. Dene elders criticize schooling for teaching children to talk too much. Dene discourse emphasizes restraint, silence, and discernment of the right moment for speaking/writing or listening/interpretation. Dene ways of speaking equalize power differences between speaker and listener. A speaker does not state the point or argument directly. In such a communicative context, the audience assumes much of the responsibility of interpretation. Story, personal experience, and culture must form the basis of curriculum for aboriginal education. This paper contains Dene testimony before the MacKenzie Valley Pipeline Inquiry and a detailed rhetorical analysis of that testimony. (SV)
Descriptors: American Indian Culture, Canada Natives, Cognitive Structures, Cultural Differences, Culture Conflict, Discourse Analysis, Discourse Modes, Epistemology, Foreign Countries, Informal Education, Intercultural Communication, Listening, Nonverbal Communication, Rhetorical Criticism, Speech Communication
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada