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Native American Storytelling: Culture is Prevention

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.

TUESDAYS, November 10 and 24, Dec 8 and 22
3-4 EDT . 2-3 CDT . 1-2 MDT . 12-1 PDT . 11-12 AKDT


Guest speaker: Sǫhahiyo (he has a good path) Richard Zane Smith

Bio: Born in 1955, raised in Missouri, Richard grew up in a spiritual creative home where artistic expression was cultivated by scattered pencils and paper on the coffee table in the evenings while his parents read stories to the five children. His mother always encouraged all of them to be proud of their rich Wyandot heritage.

Richard’s been a self-employed full time ceramic artist since 1984. He’s active in Wyandot/Wendat language and culture revitalization, longhouse ceremonies, and spent seven years teaching Wyandot language and storytelling in the Wyandotte public schools. He is continually holding pottery workshops for First Nations peoples including Wyandot, Seneca/Cayuga, Mi’kmaq, Shawnee, Oneida, and Wendat and Innu in Canada. He enjoys telling Wyandot stories to children and passing on what he’s learned, in bow making, rattle making and other indigenous art forms that tie people to their ancestors. He’s been fortunate to be invited to New Zealand for three different indigenous artists gatherings and cherishes those inspiring gatherings with those of similar passion. A dream of his is to see all indigenous art traditions restored. Richard says ”I believe all artists are stronger when they're grounded in their own ancestral art forms first.” Though he will not compete in Art Competitions, He has work in many major museums across the country, and in a number of books and publications.

Richard was nominated and honored with a First Peoples Fund Community Spirit Award for storytelling and voluntary service to his Native American community. Richard is an enrolled member of the Wyandot Nation of Kansas (not federally recognized) and a IACB certified Indian Artisan.

Starts: Nov. 24, 2020 2:00 pm
Ends: Nov. 24, 2020 3:00 pm
Registration Deadline
November 24, 2020
Event Type
Webinar/Virtual Training
Hosted by
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