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2011 Storytelling Conference Reflections

We'd once again like to thank many of you for the participation,
prayers and energy that poured into our Storytelling Conference this year.
The success of the Conference was celebrated as a
community endeavor--we had a packed house and a beautiful gathering
with an abundance of storytelling and good cheer.

For the rest of the story, please scroll down below the photos and click onto "Read More!"

Whistling Elk Drum gathered the people with their songs, creating a
vibrant heartbeat for the gathering. Tom Smith honored the Hall with
his posting of the Eagle Staff he carries. We were honored to have
Tom and Grandma Agnes Pilgrim-Baker offer their blessings to open the
event, and then Tom told the history of the Veteran's Eagle Staff.
Ashland's Ka Pi'o O Ke Anuenue Hula then graced the stage and gifted
us with traditional Hawaiian stories told through the dance and
chanting. Grandma Aggie told stories of her recent international
travels and her work with the Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers. Our
featured storyteller, Esther Stutzman, once again captivated the
audience with her traditional Kalapuya stories and teachings as they
were passed down to her. Esther combines a wonderful mixture of
teachings with her stories, which gives our community much of the
traditional history and cultural significance of indigenous
storytelling. Benson Lanford followed Esther with his stories and his
rich knowledge from many tribal backgrounds. As promised, we invited
people from the audience to share stories as well, and we were treated
to a Scottish tale from Irene, a 'flute tale' from Kathleen, an Ananzi
story from Dolly and some beautiful stories from the British Isles
told by Elias.

The dinner break featured excellent food and feasting for all, along
with several vendors and a Silent Auction and Raffle sponsored by
R.E.D.. We again thank many of you for bringing potluck dishes and
for being part of the raffle and auction. We were able to pay out
larger Honorariums for our speakers and storytellers from your
gracious participation.

Whistling Elk Singers gathered people into the storytelling hall after
dinner and we continued with more stories from Grandma Aggie, Esther
Stutzman, Dan Wahpepah, Christine Leonard and Devon Strong with their
tales from the Warmth Project trip to South Dakota last month, more
from Devon and his buffalo tales (and tails!), closing with the
history of the Drum and how it came to be in this valley under the
safe keeping of Dan Wahpepah and through the drum-maker, Russell
Beebe. Russell and Danny teamed up to tell this unique background of
the Drum, sharing why it is important to know the history and
significance of a traditional drum.

We closed the day with more songs, thanks to Whistling Elk Drum, and a
community clean-up. It was a magical, amazing gathering and we are so
grateful to you all for working together to make it happen for the
people--especially for the children and elders.

MANY specific thank you's we'd like to acknowledge here, for your
donations to the Silent Auction, Raffle, Feast and Elder Giveaways:

~Pamela Joy and the Food Angels
~Barbara Maynord Photography
~Northwest Seasonal Workers
~Jackson County Fuel Committee
~Shop 'n Kart
~Carefree Buffalo Store
~American Trails
~Inti-Imports
~Sacred World
~Maranatha Company
~Ed Little Crow
~Wild Embers Press~Antoinette Claypoole
~Nina Council
~Pico's Fair Trade
~Hope Izabelle
~Nancy Bloom
~Stella Jane
~La Catrina/Unete
~Paddington Station
~Jim Stasek
~Irene Carver
~Nona Donahue
~Terry's Trading Post
~Sweetwater Education Foundation
~Wahpepah Construction
~Bellview Grangers

Again, our appreciation is heartfelt to our community. R.E.D. could
not have this gathering without your participation, love and prayers.
We wish you a happy and healthy end-of-the-year and best wishes for
the new year.