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RICH TRADITIONS OF STORYTELLING


Stories, either written or oral, are the base of our civilization Stories are limitless, and connect people from all walks of life. Cultures who had no written language had storytellers.

At a lecture by F. Scott Momaday, a Kiowa Indian, he stated that at some time in everyone’s life, he must know from where he came. The Native American has no such problem, because he has been taught the legends of his people over and over his entire life. He can recite his family tree for generations back, and can also remember and tell stories about ancestors long dead.

Stories are painted and carved on rocks throughout the world. Reminders to us that we are not unique, and that those who have gone before us left their legacies for us to interpret.

The time honored Indian pueblo pottery tradition of working with clay and telling stories has merged into a modern art form of “storyteller” pottery dolls. The art of making clay effigies is as ancient as the Anasazi peoples who inhabited the deserts of New Mexico many centuries ago. In recent history, it is the Cochiti pueblo potters who are knlown for clay effigies depicting many different aspects of their everyday life.

Helen Cordero of the Cochiti pueblo created her first ‘storyteller’ figure. Cordero’s storyteller mode was her grandfather, who gathered his grandchildren around him to play the drum, sing them songs, and tell stories of their Indian heritage and traditions.

Due to the decline of the number of speakers of native languages in various parts of the world, oral storytelling has become less common. In recent years many of the stories are written down, though many people argue that the telling of the story is just as important as the words within. Story telling, once confined to people in our own community, due to the virtue of the internet, allows us to tell our stories to people around the world.

Language is the archives of history. Ralph Waldo Emerson

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3 comments on “RICH TRADITIONS OF STORYTELLING

  1. There is so much food for thought here. It crystallises something for me and I’m going to consider making a storyteller doll. Thank you.

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