The earliest Native American educators were the Storytellers. The Native American storytelling tradition goes back for centuries and was and is a way for the history of Native Americans to be shared for several reasons. A Storyteller is the Guardian of the history and Sacred Traditions that can help all of us as we try to walk on the Sacred Path to balance. It is most important to keep the ancient knowledge alive for the children to have with them as they grow and begin their journeys helping them to see the Medicine Lessons that still apply today. The arrival of the Storyteller was a much celebrated time for many bands and tribes of North America as they brought the ancient stories along with news of what was happening with the other Peoples they had visited. Births and deaths were reported from other camps so the Storyteller could also be described as a news broadcaster of sorts, too.
The Plains Indian Tribes often referred to their Storytellers as “Twisted Hairs”. They could be recognized because they wore a small knotted and twisted bun that fell to the center of their forehead which marked them as historians and teachers of the Tribe.
Acting as a bridge to other times and ancient teachings the Storytellers of all Tribes and Nations teach us the Medicine Stories that we can apply to our own lives, at our own pace, in our own time. Something that I greatly admire about the Storytellers is that they were and are able to share lessons about life without pointing fingers at anyone. As they share their story it passes on a different wisdom to all who hear it. One might find the solution to a problem while another might recognize an error that they have made and want to correct it. With Great Spirit working through the Storyteller the most needed message would be delivered where it should.
Many cultures have a form of storytelling that teaches both children and adults moral lessons to live by…it is important that we honor those traditions and share our history and our Medicine Stories with the children in our lives. The Native American storytelling tradition is one that we can all learn and teach from.
~Mitakuye Oyasin~ We are all related