top of page
Photo_Bendanglemla LONGKUMER Small.jpeg
Parallel 10

Tell Us a Story! Indigenous Storytelling as Practical Theology


Dr. Bendanglemla LONGKUMER

Senior Lecturer in Christian Theology and Ethics

Pacific Theological College, Suva, Fiji

Storytelling is an important technique to communicate with people. Since our birth, stories have been implanted over a thousand times. Stories are imparted through various mediums like books, movies, performances, and the like. It comes in a variety of forms and designs which can be called “genres”. For the indigenous people, storytelling is the social and cultural activity used to impart ethical lessons, social and cultural norms, and differences. The story surrounds the whole aspect of life in general and hence, theological interaction among culturally distinctive stories around these themes is not only possible but vital. We should be encouraged to explore how people’s stories, stories in the Christian Bible included, theologically interact with one another (Song, 2011).

While emphasizing the importance of roping in indigenous storytelling in the academic sphere, Seed Pihama reiterates that storying has much too important a role to play in our liberation and resurgence to be left in the margins. The magic held therein holds the keys to capturing the hearts of our future generations (Archibald, 2019). Telling stories and listening to them, then, is not an option; it is a necessity. It is not a choice, but an obligation. It is not something we can take or leave, but a matter of life or death. For in the beginning were stories, not texts (Song, 2011). 


For indigenous people, our names are suggestive of where we belong, they can tell us our tribe, ethnicity and so on. At times our names indicate our connection to nature, land, art and the like which is very significant. Telling our Naming Stories, will narrate how significant stories are attached to names. Names can also tell from whose clan, and lineage you come from. So also, our name links us to the web of creation, how there is a powerful connection of our names to our roots and genealogy suggesting the collective narrative at the same time acknowledging the individual.


Stories and storytelling can become important tools of decolonization. Integral to the unravelling of colonization is our ancestral wisdom, which can be found embedded in the stories. They are like glasses through which we can view, learn, and be taught by our ancestors who live in every line of the recitations. The task ahead is then to find the relationality of our stories, Christian stories and how they can be weaved together to formulate a practical theology in which we are involved.



Dr. Bendanglemla Longkumer, is from Nagaland, India. She is an alumnus of the IASACT 2013 batch. Currently, serving as Senior Lecturer in Christian Theology and Ethics

Pacific Theological College, Suva, Fiji

bottom of page