Published by The Advocacy Committee of the
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At 94, Storyteller Tells Her Last Tale to Children

Las Vegas Optic (Las Vegas, NV) , September 6, 2006


Esther Martinez was born the year the Titanic sank and New Mexico became a state. Her American Indian name is P'oe Tsawa, or Blue Water, the name her friends and family call her. Martinez, 94, is a renowned storyteller from Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo.

She is also a traditional storyteller for the National Park Service and for numerous schools and organizations, as well as a Tewa language consultant. Blue Water spent most of her life on Native lands teaching bilingual education, a passion that would lead to ensuring the Native language was preserved. She didn't venture far from home until the late 1980s when she began sharing her tribal stories with outsiders.

Martinez will be honored with the National Heritage Fellowship Award in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 12 for her work in preserving the Tewa language.

After the storytelling session, the students said they learned a lesson about the importance of oral history.

''The stories were very interesting and had a lot of detail. She is 94 years old - that's history we may never hear again,'' said student Nina Martinez.

Subjects Covered: education, personal storytelling

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