To celebrate World Turtle Day, the Canadian Wildlife Federation is pleased to share a new video featuring a legendary story about this amazing reptile.

Gatineau-based storyteller Daniel Richer visited the CWF office in Kanata, Ontario to share this teaching before embarking on an educational tour of Alberta and Northern Ontario. Special thanks to our communications intern, Maggie Van Lith, for creating the video, and to Daniel for sharing his knowledge and enthusiasm with us. Daniel has volunteered for CWF over the years and uses our Adopt an Animal plushies in some of his presentations. We asked him a few questions about why he’s so wild about storytelling.

Q: Why do you enjoy telling stories about wildlife and nature?

To Indigenous People (First Nation, Inuit and Métis People), legends are much more than entertainment. They are a way to explain what surrounds us and to teach life lessons. Storytelling allows me to open eyes and hearts to who we are and what we bring to the table. Racism comes from ignorance; so if we educate and tell our stories, we can’t be ignored.

Q: Which animals feature in your stories and why?

  • Turtles are slow and steady, teaching us that patience is indeed a virtue and that we should appreciate what we have, enjoy life and the path to growing old.
  • Bears are the teachers of the cycle of nature, how to live in harmony with nature and learn from it.
  • Whales are examples of wisdom, peace and eternal love. They inspire creativity.
  • Moose represent strength, power, individuality and independence – knowing who you are and accepting it and learning to adapt to your environment.
  • Bison are symbols of abundance, determination and respect of traditions and ceremony, plus they are an example of the strength and beauty in being generous.
  • Owls teach us to embrace solitude but also to seek truth, to open our eyes to what surrounds us so that we may learn from it.
  • Foxes are tricksters who are quite clever and enjoy a good laugh. They make time to play and so should you.
  • Otters enjoy life and give importance to their family, live in the moment and find pleasure in embracing new things.

Q: How did you learn these stories?

My grandmother and my father were very good storytellers and very generous with their time and with sharing the knowledge. Over the years, I have had the great opportunity to tell our legends in every province and the territories of Canada but even more important, I have had the chance to sit, listen and learn from and with some amazing storytellers from many nations.

Q: What are some of your other favourite stories?

There are so many it’s really hard to choose, but here are a few: “The turtle goes to war” and “Where butterflies come from” are whimsical, poetic stories that explain how animals came to be as they are now. “No Moccasins” is a legend of women empowerment and resilience.

Q: Why is wildlife conservation important to you?

We are just passing through this life, this world, and we must leave it in a better state than we found it. The Law of Seven means before we say anything, before we do anything, we have to think of the Seven Future Generations it’s going to affect. The preservation of all creatures who are part of this great circle of life should be part of those considerations.

Learn more about Daniel Richer >