Storytelling During Uni Period
Published: Monday, February 13, 2012 - 4:39pm
On Friday Feb. 3, the entire Uni High student body assembled to listen to American Indian storyteller Gene Tagaban. Every year Spurlock Museum brings in a storyteller for their Winter Tale's event. Tagaban has twenty years of experience as a storyteller, musician and motivational speaker. He was kind enough to take the time to visit the school and share some of his stories with the student body.
During Uni Period, the entire student body crowded into Uni Gym with various staff members, and some Uni parents and family members. Students were welcomed by a member of the Spurlock Museum staff who briefly introduced Tagaban. Tagaban introduced himself in his native language. Then he translated for those who did not know what he was saying.
"I just said, 'Hi. My Tlingit name is Guy Yaaw.' I'm from the T'akdeintaan Clan, the Raven Freshwater Sockeye Clan from Hoonah, Alaska. I'm the child of Wooshketaan, Eagle Thunderbird Clan in Juneau, Alaska. The original name of Juneau is called--'the place where the flounders gather,'" he said.
"I'm the grandchild of a Thunderbird. I am Tlingit, Cherokee and Filipino. And not only that, I acknowledged you, your ancestors, your people, your family, our Creator, because without our Creator, our ancestors, our family, we would have nothing," Tagaban continued.
The event continued with Tagaban playing the flute, drums, and telling the audience about a rabbit who refused to be quiet when the rest of the animals were having a meeting. He then told students to stay true to themselves and surround themselves with positive people for a positive lifestyle.
At that point, Tagaban opened the floor to any and all questions that the student body might have. Most of the questions were of the sillier variety such as: "Have you ever wrestled a polar bear?," "Have you ever lived in an igloo?," or "What is dog-sledding like?" But some of the questions took on a more serious tone--one student asked: "What are some of the stereotypes of Native Americans that you are least comfortable with?" Whatever the question, Tagaban took the time to answer it with a wry sense of humor.
Although the assembly only lasted forty minutes, it went by quickly. Soon after the questions were wrapped up, Tagaban asked for a volunteer from the audience. Freshman Cole Petruzzi was asked to keep a beat while Tagaban preformed a raven dance.
Overall the assembly was very worthwhile according to many students. Many agreed that this was a good use of the Uni Period, and was an educational experience for all.