Approached by an ecumenical society representing many faiths, from Judeo-Christians to fellow members of First Nations, Harold R. Johnson agreed to host a group who wanted to hear him speak about the power of storytelling. This book is the outcome of that gathering. In The Power of Story, Johnson explains the role of storytelling in every aspect of human life, from personal identity to history and the social contracts that structure our societies, and illustrates how we can direct its potential to re-create and reform not only our own lives, but the life we share. Companionable, clear-eyed, and, above all, optimistic, Johnson’s message is both a dire warning and a direct invitation to each of us to imagine and create, together, the world we want to live in.
Johnson is a member of the Montreal Cree Nation and viewed The Power of Story: On Truth, the Trickster, and New Fictions for a New Era, as the culmination of his life's work. Grounded in Indigenous thought, it is framed as the record of an evening he shared with a group of spiritual and religious leaders who, prompted by an ecumenical society, gathered one evening to hear Johnson discuss the idea of story and how understanding it can provide us with a more nuanced and compassionate way to share knowledge and imagine a future.
For Johnson, everything is story: from our notions of human rights, to our careers, histories, and very intimate conceptions of our own selfhood. And once everything is realized as story, Johnson suggests, we can not only start to be more forgiving of our differences (they arise from conflicting stories), but better understand our role in the story of our future–as individuals and as a People.