Award-winning Indigenous author Harold R. Johnson discusses the promise and potential of storytelling.
Approached by an ecumenical society representing many faiths, from Judeo-Christians to fellow members of First Nations, Harold R. Johnson agreed to host a group who wanted to hear him speak about the power of storytelling. This book is the outcome of that gathering. In The Power of Story, Johnson explains the role of storytelling in every aspect of human life, from personal identity to history and the social contracts that structure our societies, and illustrates how we can direct its potential to re-create and reform not only our own lives, but the life we share. Companionable, clear-eyed, and, above all, optimistic, Johnson’s message is both a dire warning and a direct invitation to each of us to imagine and create, together, the world we want to live in.
Praise for Harold R. Johnson
“An extraordinary memoir by a Cree writer who understands the damage alcohol does when used to kill the pain caused by white Canadians stealing and torturing Indigenous children throughout this nation’s history. I know many white alcoholics but it’s always ‘the drunk Indian.’ Why? Firewater is a great book; it burns in the hand.”
“A natural storyteller, Johnson seeks imagined pasts and futurity with equal parts longing and care. This work allows readers and writers the possibility of new and ancient modes of storytelling.”
—Tracey Lindberg, author of Birdie
“A luminous, genre-bending memoir. Heartache and hardship are no match for the disarming whimsy, the layered storytelling shot through with love. The power of land, the pull of family, the turbulence of poverty are threads woven together with explorations of reality, tackling truth with a trickster slant.”
—Eden Robinson, author of Son of a Trickster
“Written in the style of a kitchen-table conversation, Johnson’s personal anecdotes and perceptive analysis are a call to return to a traditional culture of sobriety … [a] well-argued case.”