Collective Memory and Leslie Silko

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"Instead, the ancient Pueblo people depended upon collective memory through successive generations to maintain and transmit an entire culture, a worldview complete with proven strategies for survival. The oral narrative, or story, became the medium through which the complex of Pueblo knowledge and belief was maintained. Whatever the event or the subject, the ancient people perceived the world and themselves within that world as pan of an ancient, continuous story composed of innumerable bundles of other stories." p. 233

In this quote Leslie Silko describes the value of storytelling in Pueblo people everyday life, she equals storytelling to collective memory of the people. I find it very interesting because just the other day I heard Dr. Richard Leo Enos from TCU proclaim that the Iliad was written as a means of mnemonics, a mere technique of information retention. I find it amazing that storytelling can be viewed at the same time as both collective memory, the memory of a group of people and a at the same time as a memory aid technique tailored for one particular individual.

For Pueblo people story telling was the verbal chronicle of their existence, some stories were so sophisticated and detailed they could be used as map to trace up the herds of bulls or places to graze for sheep. And yet stories were so intertwined and layered that it could also contain the story of one's grandparents death or their own birth. It is note worthy that Silko named this part of her essay "Through Stories We Hear Who We Are" and indeed in stories we revel with our ancestors we understand their values, their priorities, their challenges and struggles, we relate to them so much more and it does clear up for us where we are coming from and maybe even "Quo Vadis"

A psychologist asked about short term memory or working memory as they also call it, will tell you that a human adults brain can only hold seven plus minus two pieces of information. In order for large chunks...
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