Les Rendez-vous de la Francophonie launches 9th annual pan-Canadian tour
Storyteller Daniel Richer narrates native tales and legends
In the season of the deep sleep (winter), the elders share with children the lessons learned from Mother Earth. The wolf unfurls its bag of wonders, as did so many totems on Turtle Island, where the ancient traditions of the First Nations People flow into the river of storytelling.
Daniel Richer will begin his pan-Canadian tour of exchanges of respect in Nunavut on February 13th. He will travel from coast to coast presenting 41 shows in 51 days. He has long since been ready to share the legend (‘)The Dream Catcher and the Wolf(‘) at the Les Rendez-vous de la Francophonie celebrations.
One hour, drifting from wind to wind, on the wings of time… The wisdom of the elders spreads, and a clear message emerges: from the smallest blade of grass to the greatest mountain, we are the living design of the creator.
(‘)There is nothing like going on tour for the purpose of learning,(‘)says Daniel Richer after 30 years of storytelling. (‘)Each time you go, you discover a place where you learn something unexpected. The best teachers are those who learn while teaching.(‘) The day that Richer can no longer continue his storytelling craft is the day that he will leave the profession.
Anecdotes flows when you listen to Daniel Richer. He has been working as a town crier for 25 years and as an actor for 30; acting at conferences and special events, and in documentaries and historical films. Hear ye! Hear ye! Brave readers! Effortlessy, he passes on the teachings of the First Nation elders, some of whom originate from his own Algonquin heritage.
Richer’s reputation as an actor precedes him. He has brought to life famous individuals like Jean Talon, Samuel de Champlain, Pontiac, and lesser known people such as Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier and Anoathoa (or Onontaha), the war chief of 30 Wendake warriors (Wendake is the original name of the Hurons) who fought next to Adam Dollard, Sieur des Ormeaux. The story of Dollard and Anathoa was made into a fictional series as a part of Histoire Max, produced for TVO and Radio-Canada.
Did you know that some of Dollard’s companions shot at the Iroquois peace messenger(!) That started the battle. Daniel Richer learned this, and relived it in his interpretation of the Wendake Chief, whose people were outnumbered ten to one by the Iroquois. (‘)The tree branch, outside the palisade, where a barrel of gunpowder was stuck(-)that’s pure invention.(‘) In measuring certain truths and facts, Richer teaches us that Canada’s history has long had a tendency to dress up our stories, which often obscures the (‘)real story.(‘)
(‘)Man is the only animal that blushes, or needs to,(‘) ponders Richer in his Characteristic way, citing Mark Twain. (‘)Racism and intolerance stem from ignorance,(‘) continues the storyteller, actor, town crier and facilitator. (‘)The First Nations are people who listen with their eyes and their hearts, and with their mouths shut. The more we hear about another’s reality, the more we understand.(‘)
Passionate about his profession, Daniel Richer sees his work as a game that has enlightened him(-)not a job. For him, truth triumphs over the custom of silence. He offered to share the original role of tobacco, an element of purification once only smoked during specific ceremonies. The Native Americans also used it as incense, or threw it in the water to thank the Gods before beginning to fish.
Daniel Richer concluded our interview by touching on the origins of the Wabanakis: the people upon whom the sun would rise. This story is about the Abénaquis tribe, Richer’s own tribe. To hear traditional tales and legends of the Native People, told by Daniel Richer, consult his tour calendar on the Les Rendez-vous de la Francophonie website at www.rvf.ca