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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


February 9, 2002 - Issue 54


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Library Launches Native American Storytelling

credits:Andy Barron/RGJ
Dean Barlese told Native American stories to adults and children.
About 70 Reno residents Saturday enjoyed a morning of culture and native Nevada history at the Northwest Reno library, where storytellers, poets and artists gathered for the library’s first Native American Storytelling program.

“It’s always hard to single out which programs will catch the public’s eye,” said Barbara Jaeck, programs librarian. “But obviously this one did.”

Children sat silently as storytellers like Judy Trejo, of Nixon, weaved tales for youngsters and other community members who attended the hour long event.

“I’m just here telling some stories,” Trejo said.

Robert Merrell, of Reno, stopped to greet storyteller Dean Barlese, who enthralled audiences with stories about natural events.

“This took me back because I’m part Indian,” Merrell said. “This is a way to pass on history and the spirit.”

Don Carson, of Reno, took his 6-year-old son Jake Carson to the storytelling.

“It’s quite a different point of view than we have,” Carson said. “It was good for Jake because he hasn’t had the opportunity to hear something like this.”

Although the audiences reaped the benefits from the show, storytellers got something out of it, too.

“I get understanding of my own culture and know that it’s still existing, it’s still here,” Barlese said.

The library and Sierra Arts sponsored the event and plan an encore session of storytelling, art exhibit and poetry on Feb. 16.

“The purpose is to show the diversity of Native American culture,” said Stacey Spain, program director for Sierra Arts. “This is how history is learned.”

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Canku Ota is a copyright © 2000, 2001, 2002 of Vicki Lockard and Paul Barry.


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