Library Virtual Talk Thursday

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The Hailey Public Library is located on the northwest corner of Croy and Main streets. Photo courtesy of Hailey Public Library

In cultures with a strong oral heritage, the winter solstice often begins a season of storytelling.  The Hailey Public Library is honoring this tradition by hosting Living Stories, a two-part series.

On Thursday, Jan. 13 at 5:30 p.m. via Zoom, Dr. Rodney Frey, University of Idaho Professor Emeritus of Ethnography, will explore, “Rejuvenating a Sense of Place and Community Through Storytelling.” RSVP to kristin.fletcher@haileypubliclibrary.org.  

 Dr. Frey will extensively reference Native oral traditions, including the Apsáalooke (Crow) of Montana and the Schitsu’umsh (Coeur d’Alene) of Idaho with which he has extensively collaborated. He will also discuss the implications of storytelling for our panhuman experience, including ways of transforming one’s own family oral histories into “living stories,” stories that can help address division and isolation, and rejuvenate a sense of place.

“My mentors have helped guide me, both professionally as well as personally,” explained Dr. Frey, “We have become ‘family.’ Through their example and teachings, they have demonstrated the tremendous value and importance of story, and of the power of empathy as the means that brings those stories alive, helping connect and heal the members of the human family.” 

Dr. Frey’s talk will discuss the underpinnings of story and storytelling, from literary motifs to historical narratives, from storytelling techniques to orality and ontological foundations, from renewal and healing capacities to anchoring our sense of place. And pivotal to it all is empathy, or what the Schitsu’umsh call snukwnkhwtskhwts’mi’ls, literally meaning, “fellow sufferer.”  

Dr. Frey received a Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Colorado in 1979. He taught at Carroll College in Helena, Montana, for six years and at Lewis-Clark State College in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, from 1987 to 1998. While at Lewis-Clark and working closely with the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, he helped establish and coordinate a successful college outreach center on the reservation. His books include The World of the Crow Indians: As Driftwood Lodges and Landscape Traveled by Coyote and Crane: The World of the Schitsu’umsh – Coeur d’Alene Indians, in collaboration with the Schitsu’umsh. His most recent book, Carry Forth the Stories: An Ethnographer’s Journey into Native Oral Tradition, was published by Washington State University Press in 2017.

Tony Tekaroniake Evans, author, award-winning journalist and enrolled Bear Clan member of the Kahnawake Mohawks of Quebec, will teach a storytelling workshop Thursday, Jan. 20, Part Two of the Living Stories series.  

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