The Importance of Context

A while back, we read a piece by Keith H. Basso called “Quoting the Ancestors.” We read this for the week of February 12, but I have been thinking about this piece recently. In it, Basso shares some of the stories of the names of important places to the Apache people as told to him by an Apache man, Charles. What was so interesting about this piece for me was reading these stories and reflecting on the importance of them. It made me think about how this piece really exemplifies the importance of context and different points of view. In this instance, it is one thing to just hear about sacred and important landmarks and places, but I don’t think anyone can really understand why those landmarks and place are so important without hearing about the context. A few weeks ago, someone wrote a blog post about whether it is ethical to for a white man to retell Native stories. I won’t go into too much detail on this point, but I mention it because, in this case, I think it is important that these stories are retold to provide context to people who want to understand the importance of place names to the Apache people. I would be curious about other people’s thoughts on this too!

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