Telling Through Story

Quote about Telling

Once upon a time, we shared our stories as a way to share our knowledge to help us all go forward together, to learn, to know what was safe and acceptable, and what wasn’t. It was the way we grew as people and survived. We shared our stories, we heard them, helped where needed, and we all moved on. It provided a cultural framework for sharing our ways of being.

Stories had many purposes in our communities:

  • Established origin of life and values
  • Education and life lessons
  • Healing
  • Humor
  • History
  • Bring Understanding
  • Structure to our lives – understand our place in the world

There are many other purposes of story that have been used in our communities, however for many years, we were silenced and were not able to share our stories. Silence then became a way of survival, of showing strength, of hiding shame, of silencing our way of being.

We need to share our stories to help our communities and those who will come after; to once again learn from our stories, honor our stories, and help us all grow forward.


Native Daughters – Native Storytellers Connect the Past and The Future:

Our Arts in Storytelling

Our traditional arts have been a way to share stories and we can continue to use our arts to help share stories in a cancer basics online course I helped develop. We use many handmade Alaska Native dolls who share about cancer and help bring understanding to such a hard topic; we are using our traditional art in a new ways 💛

Cancer Basics Course

Check out this article about Telling Stories through Corn Husk Dolls, which inspired this post 💛

Corn Husk


As the Roses Age

As the Roses Age

Storytelling comes in many shapes, forms, and sizes, such as parables, poems, short stories, etc., and I have the honor of being friends with one of our respected Tribal Storyteller, Leader, and Culture Bearer, Wilson Justin. He doesn’t call himself these things but many of us think of him in these ways.

One time a long time ago, he was sharing a story that had an important observation about our healthcare and the struggles to access for our People who live in our rural communities. After he was done sharing, I said that his words were like getting hit upside the head with a hammer that is wrapped inside a pillow. His words continue to inspire, and continue to have us stop and think – he honors us with his gift of story, and his observations of life. Nowadays, when his stories, poems, and observations inspire me, and I now like to wrap them within an image ♥

Learning Through Story

LJRevels Story MaskI had the honor of learning from Gene Tagaban, Master Storyteller, last week and my biggest takeaways from the Storytelling Sharing (Training) were:

  • Thoughtfulness in sharing stories: what story are you sharing, and how to tell certain stories with honor.
  • Indigenous way of knowing and learnings through listening and story: this one was a good one to reconnect with. To sit and listen, just listen to what is being shared. We listened for hours and not once did I become restless. I knew at a deep level that knowledge was being shared and time was of no interest.
  • I am worthy of being a story keeper.
  • The impact of healing through indigenous ways.
  • Storytellers are healers. To learn more about this one, because this one is an honorable teaching, I suggest taking a class from Gene as I do not know how to articulate it with the respect this one deserves.
  • I am an “Auntie” and need to step into that role, embrace it, and help those who follow.
  • Be selfish, not self-centered. You have to take care of yourself, if you do not take care of yourself, you only share a part of yourself in storytelling, and in helping others. I’d like to add to this, being selfish for me as a storyteller also means setting boundaries.
  • Stop trying to be perfect, make mistakes. For me, it was more like, quit trying to be perfect for others, and was a good one for me to hear out loud.
  • Healing stories. I never gave this type of storytelling much thought, even though I see this happen in the many digital storytelling workshops that I do. I see people see the path of healing when they come to story circle, but I never named it really. This one gives me a lot to ponder on.

It was quite the training and there was so much more that happened during the workshop, including learning from some very young men. The balance between the men and women felt right and I was grateful that I was able to learn from the young men who stuck it out to the end. I was also very privileged to learn from an Elder who decided to drop in and share his knowledge with us too.

For me, it was good to be with Indigenous Storytellers, to be mentored back to ways of knowing and sharing, now it’s my responsibility to step up, embrace, and share what I know with others.

Gunalchéesh for stopping by. Gunalchéesh to Gene and to the Elder who dropped in, for sharing their knowledge and teaching us.

#storytellingraven  #nativewellnessinstitute