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


Rules for Storytelling

Here are my takeaways from this article “6 Rules For Great Storytelling, From A Moth-Approved Master Of The Form”:

1) Make people root for you – however, storytelling is not pitching yourself, your product, etc.
2) Have a few stories ready to share in case your technology fails you.
3) STORIES ARE ABOUT HOW YOU FELT – honor those feelings peeps!
4) Stories have a beginning, a middle, and an end…
5) Know your audience.
6) Don’t be boring.


There are some guidelines to follow if you want to share a story that even you’d like to hear. I like these rules as they are short and to the point.

On number 6, Margot Leitman, who came up with the 6 rules, says “don’t be boring” and she is referring to your life – I also think it applies to storytelling – who is going to listen to a boring story?

Since she’s referring to life in her number 6, I replaced it with how I say it: “Live a Good Story”. So although there are guidelines to follow, you need to take what fits through your way of sharing – adapt to how you share story.

Here’s the article (will open in a new window):

6 Rules


Ethos, Pathos & Logos and Storywork

I am pondering about the way we share stories, and their influence, and came across this gem of a diagram to ponder today:

Influence Diagram

(Source: https://alexrister1.wordpress.com/2011/10/24/influence-and-persuasion/)

Stories are a powerful way to share knowledge and make an impact. In story work, we facilitate, collect, and share stories to open up dialogue, bring awareness, and in some cases to effect change. Thanks to the Internet and digital technology, we have many ways to share story and I think we need to be thoughtful about how and why we are sharing those stories that we are facilitating and collecting.

In our story release form, we specifically list out the ways we would like to share the storyteller’s story and they can check off what they are comfortable with. Some of the stores we have will never be on a website or shared on social media, but we have permission to share it as a part of an educational presentation in order to help others tell their story or to help open up discussion at a community-level. I also include words to say that the stories belong to the storytellers, and I will not use them for commercial purposes, i.e. to sell a product or sell their stories.

As story workers, we need to be respectful about the stories we facilitate, collect and share. We are Stewards of the Stories, not the owners. The stories will always belong to the storyteller. I know this part can be difficult depending on who is funding the story project as they will think they own the stories and can change, share, and alter as they see fit. It is up to us to share why from an ethical point of view that we do not own the story, and that digital stories may fall under fair use, but it also could fall under copyright, or intellectual property. This part is complex and I suggest talking to someone who has legal knowledge as it is beyond the scope of mine. (Here is an article that tries to address some of the terminology and thoughts when it comes to copyright and digital storytelling: http://digitalstorytelling.coe.uh.edu/archive/copyright.html.)

ethos pathos logos diagram

Here’s a graphic reminder of what Ethos, Pathos, and Logos is. I’m presenting it here so you don’t have to Google it; if you are like me and have too much stuff in their brains to remember the meaning of these unless you use it on a regular basis 🙂

At the end of the day, we story workers need to remember by honoring the story, we also honor the storyteller.

Source: https://courses.lumenlearning.com/vccs-enf102-17fa/chapter/text-logos-ethos-pathos/

Story Collecting Ideas

Do you want to have stories from your community but don’t want to do a digital storytelling workshop? How about collecting stories and one image? To make stories for people to read? You can hang them all over your clinic and/or around your community. Read the first article from this newsletter, “Storytelling Collecting…” and then check out the “Rye Y Story Project”. This article shares how the YMCA did it and there is also a link in the story that takes you to the Y website where the stories are housed. Worth a read.

“Storytelling: The Y Shows How”

This article is from one of the newsletter resources I find valuable in the communication/storytelling work I do, “The Goodman Center”.

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