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Star Stories, part 37: Does My Storytelling Qualify as Science Fiction?

Updated: Mar 10

Onaabani-giizis (Snowcrust Moon), March 8, 2024

 

"The Vision of Sees-Beyond-the-Stars" painting by Zhaawano Giizhik
"The Vision of Sees-Beyond-the-Stars" ©2022-2024

 

"Science fiction (or sci-fi or SF) is a film genre that uses speculative, fictional science-based depictions of phenomena that are not fully accepted by mainstream science, such as extraterrestrial lifeforms, spacecraft, robots, cyborgs, mutants, interstellar travel, time travel, or other technologies."

"Science fantasy is a hybrid genre within speculative fiction that simultaneously draws upon or combines tropes and elements from both science fiction and fantasy."

"In a conventional science fiction story, the world is presented as being scientifically logical, while a conventional fantasy story contains mostly supernatural and artistic elements that disregard the scientific laws of the real world."

- Wikipedia 

 

Boozhoo!


Let's talk Sci-Fi/Scy-Fa today!


In all honesty, I was never a big fan of Science Fiction and Science Fantasy. Back to the Future and Dune aren't lost on me, nor are the Star Trek and Star Wars series. Until people told me, "you write awesome Sci-Fi."


I suspect they meant: "You write awesome Sci-Fa."


Whether it is Sc-Fi or Sci-Fa they speak of, I see what they mean but prefer calling it "Aadizookewin."


Aadizookewin is an Ojibwe term, meaning "telling of a sacred story." The literal meaning of the verb aadizooke is "make life-way of something." It therefore follows that aadizookewin, telling traditional stories, or legends, is more than about just telling legends; it is about exploring the life-way, a conduct of living.


Aadizookaan, a sacred story, therefore translates to “the sacred spirit of a story that explores a way of life.” An aadizookaan is a traditional allegory that, once told, directly taps into the spirit world. Thus, storytelling is essentially a ritual invocation of the benevolent beings of the metaphysical world. Aadizookewin, the passing on of tales and wise lessons wrapped in several layers of metaphors and symbolism, particularly serves to teach the younger generation not only about Anishinaabe history and culture and star knowledge; the tales are also teaching mirrors, familiarizing the young with something that is called Anishinaabe Bimaadiziwin: An extensive set of moral values, humor, and common, day-to-day community values. Aadizookanan instill in the young learner's mind a living sense of human potentials, as well as human vices and shortcomings. Sometimes the aadizookanan are satiric allegories in which human vice or folly is attacked through irony or wit. There are many aadizookaanan out there; for every event, belief, value, animal, spirit, or Star Being, there is a story.


An aadizookaan is a traditional allegory that, once told, directly taps into the spirit world. Thus, storytelling is essentially a ritual invocation of the benevolent beings of the metaphysical world.

When my Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) ancestors spoke about Star People, they seemed to be referring to something in addition to the sky beings, who are purely spiritual entities. Star people seem to be able to intermingle with humans on a biological basis, not just a spirit-communing way. Many tales relate of humans marrying sky beings, or even transforming into them - and vice versa. Much analogy is therefore to be found between the Star People in our aadizookaanan (sacred stories) and the aliens in Science Fiction and Fantasy tales.


Star people and portals and lone stars and constellations, most notable of those the Bagonegiizhig or Hole in the Sky (Pleiades), are depicted in ancient cosmic maps all over Gichigamiin (The Great Lakes area) and the Canadian Shield, in the form of pictographs and carvings on rock walls. There is a lot of speculation as to which images are spirit beings, which are human medicine persons communing with the spirits, and which are actually depicting Star People, aka aliens.


There is a lot of speculation as to which rock paintings refer to spirit beings, which depict human medicine persons in trances, and which are actually depicting Star People, aka aliens.

I guess it could be argued that the tales of indigenous people, as they spring from different traditions than the Western-oriented Sci-Fi and Sci-Fa, do not fall into the latter categories.


I don't know.


What I do know is that several of the elements popular in modern Sci-Fi, such as wormholes, star/spirit travel, and extraterrestrial beings, do appear in my aadizookaanan as well. Aadizookaanan that are rooted in age-old traditions that were here long before Sci-Fi saw daylight.


To read a story that feature some of the above-mentioned story elements, please see: Star Stories, part 24: The Vision of Sees-Beyond-the-Stars-Woman.


Mi'iw. Miigwech gii agindaasoyeg. That is all, thank you for reading.


 





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