Storytelling in Chippewa-Cree Children The structure and content of self-generated narratives were compared for 20 traditional and 20 nontraditional Chippewa-Cree children in four age groups (5, 7, 9, and 11 years). A majority of the stories contained temporally and causally related events and goal-based action. MLT-unit of the narratives was longer and highly structured ... Research Article
Research Article  |   December 01, 1994
Storytelling in Chippewa-Cree Children
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Elizabeth Kay-Raining Bird
    Dalhousie University Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
  • Delores Kluppel Vetter
    University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Contact author: Elizabeth Kay-Raining Bird, School of Human Communication Disorders, Dalhousie University, 5599 Fenwick Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada B3H 1R2, E-Mail: RAINBIRD@AC.DAL.CA
Article Information
Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   December 01, 1994
Storytelling in Chippewa-Cree Children
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 1994, Vol. 37, 1354-1368. doi:10.1044/jshr.3706.1354
History: Received August 4, 1993 , Accepted May 9, 1994
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 1994, Vol. 37, 1354-1368. doi:10.1044/jshr.3706.1354
History: Received August 4, 1993; Accepted May 9, 1994

The structure and content of self-generated narratives were compared for 20 traditional and 20 nontraditional Chippewa-Cree children in four age groups (5, 7, 9, and 11 years). A majority of the stories contained temporally and causally related events and goal-based action. MLT-unit of the narratives was longer and highly structured stories were constructed more frequently with increasing age. The two traditionality groups differed developmentally in their use of obstacles and causally connected episodes. The stories of 11-year-old traditional children were significantly more likely to contain these elements than their 5-year-old counterparts, whereas similar comparisons for nontraditional children revealed no such developmental change. In terms of story content, intrapersonal obstacles were found to be employed by the oldest groups only and were used more frequently by these Chippewa-Cree children than had been previously reported (e.g., Stein, 1988). Several later-developing aspects of story content were identified that seemed to reflect a Cree cultural influence. These results provide evidence for the use of episodic structure by Chippewa-Cree children, but suggest that the developmental course for particular story structure and content can vary as a function of culture.

Acknowledgments
Special appreciation is extended to the children who participated in this study, their parents, and the staff and teachers of Rocky Boy Elementary and Box Elder Schools for their assistance in this project. Thanks also to Robin S. Chapman for her insightful comments, to Giuliana Miolo for her assistance with reliability, and to Wade Blanchard, Statistical Consultant, Dalhousie University.
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