Stories of murder, redemption, fear, humor, and even the supernatural— Haskell Indian Nations Univeristy’s Alaska Club partnered with Tommany Hall’s library events staff to bring students a night full of the traditon of story telling.
Over 25 students, fed with frybread and akutaq, also known as Alaskan ice cream, settled down in a circle of bean bags and chairs ready for the stories to begin. Students from the Alaska Club shared traditional stories from their communities. Armando DeAsis, club president, told a Dakławeidí (his clan) story of Naatsiłanei who carved and brought the Tlingit killer whales or keet to life, and fellow member Chyonne Buterin shared her traditional stories like how bears came to be.
The club encouraged other students to participate, among those was Jared Nally recounting myaamia aalhsoohkaana or winter stories one of which was why the Miami only tell stories when the frogs are asleep. Other students brought to life their experiences on and off Haskell with the supernatural.
Carrie Cornelius, dean of libraries, said it was just beautiful to have our people finding their voice and having a place to tell it.
Armando DeAsis, president of Alaska Club, said the reason they wanted to do this is to hear cultural stories from different tribes because it’s exciting to hear equivalent stories from other others and to understand each other’s ideas and culture’s better.
The Alaska Club is looking at making story telling a regular event with the possibility of one or two more before the semester is over.