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Tradition is the key to progress for these Native storytellers

caption: Ella Fernandes, Fern Renville, Roger Fernandes and Barbara Lawrence
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Ella Fernandes, Fern Renville, Roger Fernandes and Barbara Lawrence
KUOW Photo/Sonya Harris

Cultural and familial traditions are as numerous as they are diverse. Sometimes, the longer the practice of a tradition, questions about its relevance begin to emerge.

In an age of technology and speedy progress, traditions can even be seen as a roadblock towards change and societal growth.

But according to the speakers of this talk, traditional storytelling is a key asset to forward, progressive thinking.

In this episode, Native artists from around the Pacific Northwest not only share tales of folklore, but their thoughts on how storytelling is another "information tool" for the modern world. They also inform a Seattle audience on how traditional stories are truly relevant when promoting practical wisdom, community building tactics and future progress.

The artists present a cross-generational collection of spoken tales featuring the creation of humankind, mischievous talking animals, shape-shifting forest creatures and more. The storytellers also discuss the usage of myths and folklore to bridge cultural understanding gaps of indigenous identity, community and culture.

[When] sharing these types of stories, Native people can teach non-Natives about the aspects of their culture that go beyond food, shelter, and clothing. These stories actually define the culture of the tellers. Roger Fernandes (Storyteller)
Town Hall Seattle

This event was presented by the Town Hall Seattle’s Short Stories Live series titled "Ancient Voices, Modern World."

The events speakers were:

  • Barbara Lawrence (Suquamish Tribe)
  • Roger Fernandes (Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe)
  • Fern Renville (Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate Tribe)
  • Ella Fernandes (Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe)

This event took place at Town Hall Seattle on November 17.

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