Indigenous Storywork
192 pages, 6 1/4 x 9 1/4
Release Date:01 Jul 2008
Release Date:01 Jul 2008
Release Date:01 Jun 2008

Indigenous Storywork

Educating the Heart, Mind, Body, and Spirit

UBC Press

Indigenous oral narratives are an important source for, and component of, Coast Salish knowledge systems. Stories are not only to be recounted and passed down; they are also intended as tools for teaching.

Jo-ann Archibald worked closely with Elders and storytellers, who shared both traditional and personal life-experience stories, in order to develop ways of bringing storytelling into educational contexts. Indigenous Storywork is the result of this research and it demonstrates how stories have the power to educate and heal the heart, mind, body, and spirit. It builds on the seven principles of respect, responsibility, reciprocity, reverence, holism, interrelatedness, and synergy that form a framework for understanding the characteristics of stories, appreciating the process of storytelling, establishing a receptive learning context, and engaging in holistic meaning-making.

For additional information and resources for educators, please visit

[The] author’s self-reflection on the multiple roles she balanced as a researcher is appreciated, and her text serves as an excellent testimonial for the efficacy and successes of researchers working collaboratively with indigenous communities. M.A. Rinehart, Valdosta State University, Choice, Vol.46, No.01
Archibald’s research studies how people, including herself, live with their stories; moreover, how people can live well with their stories. […] Here, stories are not material for analysis; they are not folklore with its implication of museum culture, and they are certainly not ‘data.’ Stories take on their own life and become teachers. […] In her spiraling, iterative style, Archibald gets as close as any book I have found to a truly narrative pedagogy, as opposed to a pedagogy of narrative. […] To stay with her writing is to experience how stories work in and on a life. Arthur W. Frank, University of Calgary, Canadian Journal of Sociology, Vol.33, No. 3
Jo-Ann Archibald, Q’um Q’um Xiiem, has gifted us here with a sensitive glimpse into the thoughts of her Sto:lo elders. In doing this, she presents folklorists with a great deal of useful emic information. And she offers guidelines for educators who hope to use story with children. Her elders show us how to not just tell stories … but how to make meaning of the tales through storywork. Margaret Read Macdonald, Western Folklore
This book is well overdue. It shows how and why indigenous storywork is important as an analytical and theoretical tool for understanding and transforming contemporary educational challenges. Dr. Archibald has written an excellent text for teachers, researchers, educationists. Linda Tuhiwai Smith, Pro Vice-Chancellor Maori and Professor of Education and Maori Development, University of Waikato
This text is a gift. The author does exactly what she says a good storyteller will do: she highlights the seven principles, she moves at a pace where I, as the listener, am able to follow, and her content is rich and enticing. Bryan Brayboy, Lumbee Principal Investigator, American Indian Teacher Training Program, University of Utah
Jo-ann Archibald, also known as Q’um Q’um Xiiem, from the Stó:lo Nation, is Associate Dean for Indigenous Education in the Faculty of Education at the University of British Columbia.


1 The Journey Begins

2 Coyote Searching for the Bone Needle

3 Learning about Storywork from Sto:lo Elders

4 The Power of Stories for Educating the Heart

5 Storywork in Action

6 Storywork Pedagogy

7 A Give-Away




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