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OSHAWA, ON — In April, Rubicon author and series editor Robert Cutting presented to two diverse groups using storytelling. On 13 April, Cutting gave his “Critical Thinking in the Media” presentation to over 90 Grades 7 and 8 students at St. Bridget Catholic School in Brooklin, Ontario. The presentation took the form of a two-hour story that looked at media messages through an alternative history lens where Paul McCartney of the Beatles might have died in a 1966 car accident and then been replaced by a look-alike. The information was given through oral, pictorial, and musical clues, prompting the students to be critical of what they were observing; they had to decide whether the information was true or part of an elaborate hoax. At the end of the story, Cutting told the audience, “The answer has been given to you at least four times during this presentation.” After his presentation, Cutting said, “I have done this class since the late 1970s, and it never gets old. It shows the students why it is so vital to be critical thinkers when observing or participating in the various media formats. I even have former students come up to me in shopping centres and other places telling me that they remember this presentation, and how it made them become more aware of media messages and how to react to them.”

For Cutting’s second presentation on 19 April, he presented a storytelling session to adults and children as part of the Durham District School Board’s Aboriginal Family Network. During his time with the audience, Cutting told stories, gave some historical references to the stories, and played his flute during his “Loon’s Call” story. The audience also got a chance to hear the Turtle Island Voices story “Koluskap and the Baby” as an oral retelling. Of his presentation, Cutting said, “The oral tradition is vital to all cultures, and is key to the cultures of the People. It was an honour and a joy to be able to present to the children and their parents as they sat in a circle, much the same way as may have happened many generations ago.”

Robert Cutting is an author and series editor for Rubicon’s Turtle Island Voices series. Turtle Island Voices is a series of books for students in Grades 1–8 designed to foster awareness and understanding of Aboriginal cultures for both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students. These books are a valuable resource for developing literacy skills and supporting character education, and work to instill in students empathy and a sense of community, along with an understanding of global issues. For more information about the Turtle Island Voices series, please click here.