Use of the body to communicate, sing and tell stories: Challenges to the imposition of an allegedly modern culture on formerly or currently colonised regions

In many formerly or currently colonised regions like South Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, the American South and Native America, there has always existed a rich, vibrant tradition of oral storytelling, one that was marginalised, often violently, through an imposition of an allegedly modern, white Western language and culture. […]

Having grown up within the largely oral Khasi community in Meghalaya, whose creative expressions mainly comprised song and “iathoh khana” (storytelling), it puzzled me that, in none of the canonical creative writing textbooks, had I come across a discussion on the influences of oral storytelling on craft. | Learn more about Khasi culture | Meghalaya >>

Source: “Decolonising creative writing: It’s about not conforming to techniques of the western canon” by Janice Pariat (, 4 July 2021)
URL: Visited: 6 July 2021

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The National Museum of the American Indian in New York

The National Museum of the American Indian in New York

Consistent across time and cultures is the use of the body to communicate and express—to tell stories, participate in the cycles of nature, mourn, pray, and celebrate. Throughout the Americas music and dance have always been an essential part of the spiritual, cultural, and social lives of Native peoples.

Introduction The ancient Maya maize god was a god of dance. In the exquisite, first century BC murals at San Bartolo, Guatemala, the maize god is depicted emerging into the world, dancing and playing a turtle shell drum worn on his chest. After his mythic journey to the underworld, the maize god dances back to life between the rain spirit, Chahk, and the spirit of standing water. 

Source: Circle of Dance – October 6, 2012 through October 8, 2017 – The National Museum of the American Indian in New York
Address :
Date Visited: 6 July 2021

The Dasai Parab festival (October)
A commemoration of times when the Santals had to defend
themselves and hide their identity behind masks
Learn more about this and other murals in West Bengal >>
  • Prevalent in the tribal belt of the bordering areas of the provinces of Orissa, Jharkhand and West- Bengal in eastern India | Video >>
  • Chhau is mainly categorized into three styles – Mayurbhanj, Saraikella and Purulia | Photo essay >>

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