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Native American Storytelling: Culture is Prevention
May 14, 2021

This event series takes place on the second Tuesday of every month.

This recording is from our session that took place on May 11th, 2021.

This series of sessions features traditional Native American storytelling, along with time for discussion on what can be learned from the stories, as well as the ways these stories can be incorporated by Native American providers into their work with patients. Please note that while we encourage non-Native providers to attend these sessions to increase your cultural understanding and sensitivity, we ask that out of respect for cultural traditions, you do not use these stories as your own if they are not a part of your culture. Native storytelling is an long honored way of teaching lessons of life. We, as Native people, need to laugh while learning. For example, laughing at how Coyote makes funny mistakes. This can teach people how to avoid behaving as Coyote does. Further, Native legends can offer stories about Creation or the Trickster. However, some stories can only be told during certain times of the year. For example, Coyote legends are only told during the winter time because that is often when Native people would be in their lodges practicing survival skills to help the tribe thrive in difficult times. Traditionally, the storyteller needed to be an excellent psychologist and able to understand peoples’ perspectives. A story might be used in treatment to help a patient come to a realization in a culturally informed way.

Learn about our next storyteller: Robert Begay "My name is Robert Begay, I am Navajo and my clans are Near to Water People, my Fathers are the Edge of Water People, my Maternal Grandparents are Towering House People and my paternal Grandparents are the Red Streak Running Into Water People. I am from Crystal New Mexico. I grew up on the Navajo Nation and continue to live here. "I graduated from Navajo Community College in Tsaile, Arizona in 1989, then went to the United States Marine Corps from 1990-1994. After the Corps, I obtained my BS in Psychology 1996 and in 2003 my MA in Socio-Cultural Anthropology from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona. "My career started in Cultural Resource Management, the switched into Behavioral Health, Local Governance, and currently a Regional Area Archaeologist with BIA Navajo Region working the field of National Environmental Policy Act. "I have 5 Children and have been married going on 27 years in June. I grew up on the Navajo Reservation, and lived in Salt Lake City in a Mormon foster home during my elementary years and into high school. In addition, I spent over 15 years as an apprentice to late clan brother for a Navajo Traditional Enemyway Ceremony before becoming a traditional practitioner, and today continue to be an apprentice for other Navajo Traditional ceremonies. "My interest are helping Navajo people with the use Navajo traditional practices. I enjoy our family life which include training horses, tending to sheep, cattle, and spending time with our children. Learning Navajo Traditional ceremonies is one of my main interests."