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Storytelling Conference 2009 Reflections. . .

Reflections on the Storytelling Conference. . .

Last Saturday marked our fourth annual Storytelling Conference sponsored by Red Earth Descendants! Being that four is a sacred number for many tribes, we appreciate the significance of having completed a "cycle of four." As a Giveaway to our community, we continue to host our events as "free to the public," and we will continue to do this always. At the Women's Community Meeting before the Conference, we discussed the concept of "giveaway" and reflected on the success of R.E.D. being tied to that concept. We've always operated all our projects and events with "giveaway" being a central theme. It has always come back to us in a good way, and we appreciate you, our community, helping us to keep that giveaway spirit alive by participating where you can in our optional fundraisers such as the Raffle and the Silent Auction--each of these projects raised approximately $1000, allowing us to have the necessary funds to sponsor our next few seasons of events.

Our Storytelling Conference featured many well-loved and honored elders--Tom Smith once again posted his Eagle Staff next to the podium and shared the story and history of the Staff. Aggie Pilgrim-Baker represented her Takelma People and blessed us with an opening prayer and her stories and updates from her international travels with the 13 Indigenous Grandmothers. Mary Carpelan represented her Shasta People by sharing some of her family lineage and their place on this land, along with a story from her People that she has had published in book form. Dan Wahpepah wove a precious handful of Ojibwa stories into the tapestry of the day as he MC'd the event, adding his usual flair of humor and fun. He also gave the story of the Big Drum and how it came to be a sacred prayer for his People. Esther Stutzman represented her Kalapuya People with amazing stories handed down to her from her Grandmothers in the sacred way of passing down the storytelling tradition. Esther also educated the audience about the responsibility of being a keeper of the stories for her People. Benson Lanford graced us with his usual eloquence and history lessons, sharing old Ponca songs and explaining the significance of them, along with many other pieces of information. Benson also presented to our audience a beautiful authentic blanket display on the stage of the Grange, wrapping us up in history and blessings from days long ago. If those blankets were listening, we would like to think the ancestors who were once wrapped in the folds of the cloth and wool would enjoy hearing the stories told that day. Roy Hayes, Nez Perce Longhouse leader and great-grandson of Chief Joseph, spoke of his history, his People, his stories. He also led a Longhouse for our community the following Sunday, as he usually does for us, giving us Ceremony to wrap up our weekend and end with a strong prayer in Longhouse. Ed Little Crow of the Dakota people hosted a book signing at the event for his recently published book of poems, essays and interviews, "A'Opchine WaLa Ohkon," translated into English as "Dreaming of a True World." Ed read excerpts from the book and spoke of his history.

We also had the blessing of a Scottish tale told by a wonderful young man who was part of the audience and was brave and eloquent enough to share his traditional story as a closing piece for the Conference--our way of extending our welcome and knowing that we are a truly intertribal community, made up of Peoples from All Nations on Earth.

Having this amazing talent and knowledge under one roof, along with songs from Whistling Elk Drum, the Silent Auction, the Raffle drawing, puppet play and other kids' crafts and activities, a HUGE and delicious feast and the prayer to tie it all together made for a very magical day.

Thank you for sharing time with us--for listening to the ancient way of paying attention and learning, for sharing food, songs, prayer and stories.

Blessings to all,

Red Earth Descendants


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Thanks for the review!

This is Zachary posting..thanks for the Writeup.