Anishinaabe Student Organization carries on tradition with storytelling

BY HARLEY ROACH | The Statesman On Saturday, Jan. 23 all are invited to take part in a traditional Anishinaabe custom.  The Third Annual Midwinter Storytelling Extravaganza, hosted by the Anishinaabe Student Organization, will bring people from all walks of life together for an annual showcase of culture, art and history that will focus heavily on the wintertime storytelling tradition.

“This is the only time of year you can tell these stories,” said GeWaden Dunkley, a member of the ASO, “You can’t tell them when there’s not snow on the ground.”

Historically speaking, winter was considered an ideal time for storytelling by the Anishinaabe.  Stories were not only told to pass the time during uneventful winter days, but also to pass down important morals from one generation to the next.

The extravaganza will feature stories revolving around the half-man, half-god Nenaboozhoo.  Each story acts as a sort of “fable,” with a lesson to be learned at the end of each one of Nenaboozhoo’s adventures.  These stories are the foundation to the Anishinaabe and will be told by speakers in both Ojibwe and English.

One of the main ideas behind the extravaganza is to provide a warm welcome to all and to share the traditions and practices of the Anishinaabe.

“It’s a good view into the culture,” Dunkley said.

Attendees can also expect a variety of arts and crafts, free food and a silent auction. The auction will offer prizes like maple syrup, beadwork and prints of artwork that will be displayed as part of the event.

The event will take place on Jan. 23 in the Kirby Ballroom from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Food will be served at 4 p.m. Stories, music and the silent auction will begin at 5 p.m. and will continue for the remainder of the evening.


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