Sit by the fireplace and enjoy complimentary hot cider and homemade cookies as you listen to traditional Native stories. Relax in the middle of the bustling holiday season for a warm and calm family event featuring Indigenous friends of the museum telling stories passed down from their cultures.
As part of generations-old oral traditions, Native storytellers will share stories told in winter from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 27, in the Pueblo Building at the Museum of Indigenous People, 147 N. Arizona Ave., Prescott.
The Museum of Indigenous People, which is closed for three weeks during the holidays, will open its doors just for the Storytellers event. Regular admission rates apply. There is no additional fee for this event. Just stop by the museum admission desk to get a pass to enter the Pueblo Building.
“Traditionally, Native people will share stories during the winter time,” said Manuel Lucero, Executive Director of the Museum of Indigenous People. “The wintertime is the time of our elders, when it’s cold outside and nasty weather, and you go inside and say, ‘grandma, grandpa tell me a story.’”
According to Lucero, many of the stories serve as life lessons.
“A lot of these stories have to do with the creation or the way we should or should not behave in certain situations,” Lucero said. “A lot of them involve animals. In the wintertime, most of the animals are sleeping, so it’s okay to talk about them. We use them in our stories and they don’t get offended.”
Storytellers travel to Prescott from across the Southwest, including Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California to share their winter stories.
“This year we have storytellers from the Potawatomi Indian tribe, Cherokee, Yaqui, Hopi and Muscogee Tribes,” Lucero said.
Lucero explained that most Native people do not have a written language, so almost all of these stories are passed down from one generation to the next.
“After hearing these stories over and over again, we start getting a handle on it as people and are able to apply them when they’re necessary, particularly pertaining to the lessons taught in these stories,” Lucero said. “They are handed down from generation to generation since the Ice Age ended. Times change but people don’t, so these stories are still very relevant.”
Many of the stories contain universal themes and archetypes that are similar across different tribes.
“Here in the southwest, the coyote is your trickster and he’s the guy that does everything you’re not supposed to do,” Lucero said. “Whereas in the Eastern tribes, the rabbit is our trickster, and the rabbit does everything, maybe outside of the box that you wouldn’t think of, to accomplish his goal and he is coming out on top. So, there are differences there, but the essence of those stories are usually always the same.”
For more information about Storytellers and other events at the Museum of Indigenous People, call 928-445-1230, or visit www.museumofindigenouspeople.org.
Jesse Bertel is a reporter/videographer for the Prescott News Network. Follow him on Twitter @ JesseBertel, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 928-445-3333, ext. 2043.