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Word of Mouth - The Art of Storytelling

The Lumberjack Online (Humboldt, CA) , February 1, 2006


Every September in Trinidad, California, the rich tapestry of local Native American folklore is available for all to hear at the Storytelling Festival by the Sea.

Julian Lang of McKinleyville is a historian, storyteller and scholar of traditional stories and songs of local Native groups. Lang says the role of a storyteller has a hereditary aspect, with certain families assuming the tasks of raising storytellers. The knowledge that Lang received came from three oral traditions, the Karuk, Yurok, and Wiyot people. Lang said that for the Native people of this region, the dark winter months are the realm of storytelling, a seasonal tradition when the available daylight becomes scarce and the campfires burn into the night.

While the Native American Stage has only been an organized gathering in the last six years, the traditions of the native people extend beyond record. In a culture of paper, the spoken word is worth a thousand pages.

Subjects Covered: storytelling festivals

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