SISF: Beyond the Spectacle: Native North American Presence in Britain

The Scottish International Storytelling Festival continues with an interesting and very informative event exploring Native North American cultures and their interaction with Scotland.  An exhibition of posters on various topics including Scotland’s historical ties with Canadian indigenous communities during the Second World War, cultural appropriation, the story of lacrosse, protest camps in North America or missing and murdered indigenous girls, provides the audience with a very insightful yet thought-provoking afternoon.

As organisers themselves describe, this event is an opportunity to learn. The audience is presented with historical gaps in our knowledge in the form of various interesting stories which, unsurprisingly, are not very widespread in the Scottish community; for instance, indigenous people’s presence in Scotland during the Second World War. It is hard not to be absolutely absorbed in discovering the histories of soldiers from Canada coming to Britain and interacting with the Scottish societies, the very same ones that we are currently a part of.

An ongoing theme of diversity is reflected in the shift in the tales from the warscape of the previous century to discussions of protest camps and real-life horror stories that are relevant and problematic today too. The audience gets a chance to read the details and historical information on posters around the room, as well as have insightful individual conversations with the host, Professor David Stirrup.

All in all, Beyond the Spectacle is a very informative and thought-provoking event. It raises awareness about important themes from the past that remain relevant today too. Although the event is for all ages and any prior knowledge, the only thing one would need to fully enjoy it would be the determination to engage with the presented material, not always easy to hear but endlessly fascinating.


Beyond the Spectacle: Native North American Presence in Britain took place on 28 October 2019 as part of the Scottish International Storytelling Festival. You can find more details about the festival, and buy tickets for future events, here.


Image: Scottish International Storytelling Festival

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