Uncovering and Preserving Our Stories, and Telling Them Again, and Once More
“Talk Story,” often associated with Hawaii, is both concept and process. For the 1882 Foundation, it refers to the set of activities and programs that we associate with collecting oral histories and preserving story sites. These include our monthly Talk Story Events and efforts to record and store oral histories. They include the production of the Through Chinatown’s Eyes short documentary series. They are related to heritage tours.
Talk Story encourages individuals to reveal their stories in their own words and to share them with others. There are two parts to this –telling and sharing. “Telling” refers to people saying what is historically important to them. This is empowering. It allows them to define themselves, the elements of their identity, as opposed to having an “historian” define for them what is historically important.
To the extent the stories resonate with others and groups coalesce to listen, our communities become defined. The “sharing” of a common legacy and the inspiration to re-tell them in a modern setting and even to go out and create new stories make the community alive.
This leads to our Talk Story slogan, inspired partially by Bonny Tsui’s observation in American Chinatown, —We gather together to tell stories because the life of our community lies in the power of our stories remembered and shared.