Nanaimo First Nation author Celestine Aleck shares stories
Nanaimo author Celestine Aleck remembers sitting at her grandfather’s feet as he told stories.
Stories were more than tales shared at bedtime, they were an integral part of the Coast Salish culture.
Her grandfather, Ronald Aleck, told stories in a loving way, said Aleck, but at the end he would yell “you remember” in a loud voice. Remembering the story exactly was important. Forgetting just one word could change the story’s context and its importance as a record of history, said Aleck.
Besides her grandfather, Aleck also learned from her grandmother.
“These elders left so many stories behind of our history, our territory and where we used to fish and hunt … and that’s what my grandfather used to talk about, too,” said Aleck.
Stories have continuously been a part of her life.
“It was just always who we were as a people. We were little sitting on the floor, listening to stories as our parents sat at the chairs at the table or in the living room or wherever grandma was or grandpa was. I think it was just such a loving way to teach us. We are so fortunate to have our elders that taught us,” said Aleck. “Everything, like even in our culture, even to this day our grandparents will take the first grandchild that is born and raise them up with all our teachings. They are so lucky to have that opportunity.”