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Southwest Summer Storytelling Sessions underway!

Southwest Summer Storytelling Sessions underway!

Author: Aase, Lara/Friday, June 30, 2017/Categories: CSWS Blog

The Southwest Summer Storytelling Series began in mid-June at Delaney Library, featuring local artists, educators, and public figures representing a variety of Native American groups. We have had four speakers so far, and after taking a break in the week of July 4th, we’ll start back up again from July 13th through August 10th on Thursday afternoons from 1:00 to 2:00 pm.

This program is supported by a Talk Story grant from the American Indian Library Association to promote oral tradition, books, and art for children and families. Most of our audience so far has been adults, but we’re reaching out to youth organizations to invite them to join us for upcoming storytelling events. If you have a topic, speaker, or audience to suggest, please contact Lara at laase@fortlewis.edu with your ideas!

Our first four speakers have all talked about their own lives in the context of their traditional cultures and their work.

  • Pearl Casias described how her early life prepared her to become the first woman Chairperson of the Southern Ute tribal council, and she spoke about the changes she helped effect on behalf of women and girls and for the overall financial strength of the tribe. 
  • Lucinda Long-Webb, a longtime Durango 9R educator, presented a multimedia version of the story of the First Hogan and discussed the importance of animals as teachers for humans. Through the story, listeners learned some Diné Bizaad vocabulary and gained insight into Diné culture and beliefs.
  • Shelden Nuñez-Velarde explained the process he went through to convince the Jicarilla Apache tribal council and elders that he should be allowed to continue the family tradition of basket weaving, even though basketry is a woman’s craft traditionally. Because Shelden is two-spirit and embodies aspects of both the male and the female in his life, he is able to pursue basketry, pottery, and other traditional media for his contemporary approach to art.
  • Tirzah Camacho bestrides many binaries: mainstream U.S. and Native America, urban California and rural New Mexico, and Polish American and Laguna Pueblo backgrounds, to name a few. Her life and art embrace the full spectrum of experience. Tirzah spoke on visual symbology as individual expression and led a workshop for participants to explore creating personal symbols for themselves, which might manifest as signatures on their artwork, bumper stickers on their cars, or tattoos on their bodies.

We look forward to more fascinating speakers in July and August! Please keep an eye out for announcements and come join us in a modern tradition of storytelling.


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