We love rapscallions. That is the name we are using for the characters we are creating to populate our stories. All Indigenous cultures use a pantheon of characters whose stories, or ‘teachings’ as our Aboriginal Advisors have asked us to call them, tell vivid stories which are far more memorable than a list of facts.
We are adapting that approach to memory from Australian Aboriginal teachings of their Ancestors, the Native American Pueblo teachings of their kachina (also spelt katsina) and similar examples from across the world. The Pueblo use dolls and other representations of their Kachina to establish the characters and the knowledge they represent for children from a very young age, but these are not playthings. They are central to learning.
It would be culturally insensitive for us to use any of the terms for these sacred beings from any indigenous culture. Consequently we have decided to use the word ‘rapscallion’ for our characters. They are appearing in many different forms but the most exciting at this moment are the rapscallions being made by the students at Malmsbury Primary School. That will be the subject of the next post.
For children and adults, having characters tell the stories and create teachings will always make information more memorable. This is a key component of the work of TOC.