Lewis shares Cherokee culture with storytelling

BY STACIE BOSTON
Multimedia Reporter
09/12/2016 04:00 PM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Robert Lewis, a Cherokee Nation school community specialist, interacts with fifth and sixth grade students during a Cherokee storytelling event at Grand View School in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. This is Lewis’s second year to bring stories to the school. STACIE GUTHRIE/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Grand View School fifth and sixth grade students laugh during a Cherokee story told by Robert Lewis, who is a Cherokee Nation school community specialist. For the stories he brings people out of the crowd to act as the characters within the story. STACIE GUTHRIE/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Robert Lewis, a Cherokee Nation school community specialist, interacts with fifth and sixth grade students during a Cherokee storytelling event at Grand View School in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. STACIE GUTHRIE/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – On Aug. 31, Grand View School students had a special storytelling guest who got them involved with Cherokee stories. That guest was Robert Lewis, a Cherokee Nation school community specialist and Cherokee National Treasure for storytelling.

Lewis said when telling stories he gets the students involved with roles within the stories.

“When I do storytelling’s it’s a little different because I pull them (students) out. Most storytellers will tell the story, but I pull them out here and interact and give them different parts to be where they get to be the bear or the wolf or the deer or the rabbit,” he said. “When I pull them out and physically involve them with the story it’s like something happens…when I come to the area schools and do this for this program it’s a way of reassuring me that out culture still gets passed down.”

Sixth grader Elizabeth Cox acted as a grandma in one of the stories.

“I thought it was really fun, and I enjoyed playing a character,” she said.

Lewis said working with students and spreading Cherokee stories is one of the “best” jobs he’s had.

“I get to involve myself with the community, and I love children. They’re a lot of fun,” he said.

He said it’s also important to help children understand the aspects of Cherokee culture.

“The museum (Cherokee Heritage Center) started doing this and the (Cherokee) Nation started doing this because a lot of the arts programs and a lot of different programs were being cut, and as they’re getting cut the children weren’t learning various aspects of the culture,” he said. “Even Cherokee children weren’t understanding things. They were mixing different cultures together. So we said, ‘let’s start a culture program, go out to the area schools and give them a taste of what our culture’s like.’ So that’s what this is.”

Margaret Carlile, Grand View federal programs director, said this is the second year Lewis has gone to the school for storytelling.

“We are honored and privileged to have Robert Lewis, a noted Cherokee storyteller, visit with our students,” she said. “He is so engaging and the kids love to have him here. He gets them involved in stories about Cherokee culture. He weaves that in with a message about being a good student and learning and getting along with people. He has so many life lessons in all of his Cherokee tales and fables and stories. He is just such a delight to have around our students whether they are Cherokee or not.”

Carlile said the engaging stories seem to be what keeps the students interested in what Lewis has to say.

“He is one of the best teachers ever, and I know he’s not in the classroom, but we can learn from everyone. He is so marvelous at getting the students to interact with him. They enjoy him,” she said. “Before he even got here, it was announced who was coming and they (students) started clapping and cheering.”

Carlile said Lewis also has a message within his stories that are “important” for the students to hear.

“Robert’s message about doing your best and staying in school and making friends and networking and doing all you can just fits right in with our activities where we’re trying to get the students to understand how important their education is and how important to know their culture is in their growth and development,” she said.
ᏣᎳᎩ

ᏓᎵᏆ, ᎣᎦᎳᎰᎹ. – ᎾᎯᏳᏃ ᎦᎶᏂ. 31, Grand View ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗᎢ ᏗᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᎩ ᎠᏏᏴᏫ ᎤᏂᏩᏛᎯᏙᎸᎢ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎧᏃᎮᏢᏍᎩ ᎤᎾᏖᎳᏕᎸᎢ ᎧᏃᎮᏢᏍᎬᎢ. ᎾᏍᎩᏃ Robert Lewis ᎠᏓᏩᏛᎯᏙᎯ ᎨᏒᎩ, ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᏥᎩ ᏣᎳᎩᎯ ᎠᏰᎵ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗᎢ ᏍᎦᏚᎩ ᎠᎦᏔᎯ ᎠᎴ ᏣᎳᎩᎯ ᎢᎬᎾᏕᎾ ᎠᏥᎸᏉᏗ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎧᏃᎮᏢᏍᎩ.

Lewis Z ᎢᎧᏃᎮᏍᎬᎢ ᎾᎯᏳᎢ ᏱᏚᏃᎮᏝ ᏗᎧᏃᎮᏗ ᏗᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᎩᏃ ᎠᏁᎳᏗᏙᎰᎢ ᎠᎾᏤᎸᏍᎪᎢ ᎾᏍᎩᏯᎢ ᎪᎱᏍᏗ ᏱᎧᏃᎮᎭ.

“ᏱᏓᎩᏃᎮᏟᏃ ᏗᎧᏃᎮᏓ ᏄᏓᎴᏃ ᏂᎦᏛᏁᎰᎢ ᏂᏗᎦᎵᏍᏙᏗᎭ (ᏗᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᎩᏃ) ᎦᏥᏯᏑᏰᏍᎪᎢ ᎦᏥᏯᏂᏍᎪᎢ. ᎢᎦᏓᏃ ᎠᏂᏃᎮᏢᏍᎩ ᏯᏂᏃᎲᎵᏊ, ᎠᏯᏃ ᎦᏥᏯᏂᏍᎪᎢ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᎾᏖᎳᏗᏍᏗᎢ ᎠᎴ ᎦᏥᏅᏍᎪᎢ ᎢᏳᎾᏛᏁᏗᎢ ᏲᎾ ᎤᎾᏤᏟᏗ ᎠᎴᏱᎩ ᏩᎭᏱ ᎠᎴᏱᎩ ᎠᎭᏫ ᎠᎴᏱᎩ ᏥᏍᏚᎢ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ. “ᏱᎦᏥᏯᏅᎯᏃ ᎠᎴ Ꮓ ᎤᎾᏖᎳᏗᏍᏗᎢ ᏥᏃᎮᏢᏍᎬᎢ ᎠᏓᏅᏖᏗᏃ ᎪᎱᏍᏗ ᎦᎵᏍᏗᏍᎪᎢ… ᏱᏩᎩᎷᏥ ᎡᏍᎦᏂ ᏕᎪᏢᏒᎢ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗᎢ ᎠᎴ ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᏯᎩᏃᎮᏢᏂ ᎠᏆᏂᏙᎢ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎢᏲᎦᏛᏁᎵᏓᏍᏗᎢ ᎤᎾᏛᎦᏅᎢ ᎨᏐᎢ ᎤᎾᏂᏙᏃ.”

ᏑᏓᎵ Ꮓ ᏗᎧᏂᏙᎯᏃ Elizabeth Cox ᎡᎵᏏ ᎤᏤᎸᏅᎢ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏌᏉ ᎧᏃᎮᏗ ᎠᎩᏃᎮᏢᎢ.

“ᎣᏍᏓᏃ ᎨᎵᏍᎬᎢ, ᎠᎴ ᎣᏍᏓ ᎠᎩᏰᎸᏅᎢ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎾᏆᏛᏁᎸᎢ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ.

Lewis Z ᎢᎧᏃᎮᏍᎬᎢ ᏱᏙᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎭ ᏗᏂᏲᏟ Ꮓ ᏯᏁᎳ ᎠᎴ ᏱᏛᎧᏃᎮᎭ ᏣᎳᎩ ᏗᎧᏃᎮᏗ ᎾᏍᎩ Ꮓ “ᏫᏓᏤᏢᎢ” ᏧᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᏗ ᎤᎲᎢ.

“ᎾᏍᎩ ᎦᏖᎳᏗᏍᎪᎢ ᎥᎿᎾᏂ ᏍᎦᏚᎩ ᎤᎾᏛᏅᎢ, ᎠᎴ ᎦᏥᎨᏳᎢ ᎢᎩ ᏗᏂᏲᏟ. ᎢᎦᏃ ᎣᏍᏓ ᎠᎩᏰᎸᏐᎢ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ.
ᎢᎧᏃᎮᏍᎬᎢ ᎠᎴᎾᏍᏊ ᎤᎵᏍᎨᏗᏳᎢ ᏗᏍᏕᎸᏗᎢ ᏗᏂᏲᏟ ᎤᏃᏟᏍᏗᎢ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏄᏍᏛᎢ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᎢᏳᎾᏛᏁᎵᏓᏍᏗᎢ.

“ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎤᏪᏘ ᎠᏍᏆᏂᎪᏗᏓᏅᎢ (Cherokee Heritage Center) ᎤᎾᎴᏅᎲᎢ ᎯᎠ ᎠᎴ ᎾᏍᎩ (ᏣᎳᎩ) ᎠᏰᎵ ᎤᎾᎴᏅᎲᎢ ᎾᏅᏛᏁᎲᎢ ᎯᎠ ᏂᏗᎦᎵᏍᏙᏗᎭ ᎯᎸᏍᎩ ᏱᎦᎢ arts ᏗᏍᏓᏩᏛᏍᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎯᎸᏍᎩ ᏱᎦᎢ ᎢᏳᏓᎴᎢ ᏚᏙᏢᏒᎢ ᏚᏂᎦᎵᏒᎢ, ᎠᎴ ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᏱᏚᏂᎦᎵᏏ ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᏗᏂᏲᏟ ᎥᏝᏃ ᏯᎾᏕᎶᏆᎠ ᎢᏧᎾᎴᏅᏓ ᏄᏍᏛᎢ ᎢᏯᏛᏁᎵᏓᏍᏗᎢ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ. “ᎠᎴᎾᏍᏊᎢ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᏗᏂᏲᏟ ᎥᏝ ᏯᏃᏟᎨᎢ ᏂᎦᎵᏍᏔᏅᏍᎬᎢ. ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᏓᏅᏍᏗᏍᎬᎢ ᏧᏓᎴᏅᏓ ᎢᏯᏛᏁᎵᏓᏍᏗᎢ. ᎾᏍᎩ ᏃᎩᏪᏌ, ‘ᎢᏓᎴᎾ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎢᏯᏛᏁᎵᏓᏍᏗᎢ ᎠᏍᏓᏩᏛᏍᏗ, ᎡᏅᏍᏗᎢ ᎡᏍᎦᏂ ᏚᏙᏢᏒᎢ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗᎢ ᎠᎴ ᏦᏥᏃᎯᏎᏗᎢ ᏄᏍᏛᎢ ᎢᎦᏤᎵᎢ ᎢᏯᏛᏁᎵᏓᏍᏗᎢ.’ ᎾᏍᎩᏂᏃᏅ ᎯᎠ ᏥᏄᏍᏗ.”

Margaret Carlile, Grand View ᏩᏥᏂᏃ ᏂᏓᏳᏓᎴᏅᎢ ᎪᎱᏍᏗ ᎢᎬᏱᏱᎢ ᎦᏙᎩ, ᎢᎧᏃᎮᏍᎬᎢ ᎯᎠᏃ ᏔᎵᏁᎢ ᎠᏕᏘᏱᏍᎬᎢ Lewis ᎤᏪᏙᎸᎢ ᎥᎿ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗᎢ ᏗᎧᏃᎮᏗ ᏕᎧᏃᎮᏍᎬᎢ.

“ᎢᎦᏃ ᎣᏣᎵᎮᎵᎦ ᎠᎴ ᎣᏍᏓ ᎣᎩᏰᎸᎭ Robert Lewis ᎣᎩᏩᏛᎯᏓᏍᏗᎢ, ᏧᏓᏃᏣᏟ ᏣᎳᎩ ᏗᎧᎮᏗ ᎧᏃᎮᏢᏍᎩ, ᏧᏩᏛᎯᏓᏍᏗᎢ ᏦᎦᏤᎵᎢ ᏗᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᎩ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ. “ ᎢᎦᏃ ᎣᏍᏓ ᎠᏰᏟᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏗᏂᏲᏟ ᎤᏂᎸᏉᏙᎢ ᏰᏙᎠ ᎠᎭᏂ. ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᏓᏠᏯᏍᏗᎰᎢ ᏱᎧᏃᎮᏢᏍᎩ ᏄᏍᏛᎢ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᎢᏳᎾᏛᏁᎵᏍᏗᎢ . ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᏳᏃᎮᏢᏂ ᎠᏠᏯᏍᏗᏍᎪᎢ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎣᏍᏓ ᏨᏕᎶᏆᏍᎩ ᎢᏳᎵᏍᏙᏗᎢ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗᎢ ᎠᎴ ᎣᏍᏓ ᏱᏗᏛᏁᏗᎢ ᏴᏫ. ᏍᏈᏍᏙᏒᏃ ᎥᏛᏏᏏᏍᎬᎢ ᎠᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᏂᎦᏓ ᏱᏚᏃᎮᏟ ᏗᏣᎳᎩ ᏗᎧᏃᎮᏗ ᎠᎴ ᏧᏪᏘ ᏗᎧᏃᎮᏢᏅᎢ ᎠᎴ ᏗᎧᏃᏢᏅᎢ. ᎣᏍᏓ Ꮓ ᎠᏰᏟᏗ ᏰᏙᎠ ᏗᏂᏲᏟ ᎠᏁᏙᎲᎢ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᏱᎩ ᎠᎴᎴ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᏂᎨᏒᎾ
ᏱᎩ.”

Carlile ᎢᎧᏃᎮᏍᎬᎢ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏴᏖᎳᏗᎭ ᏛᎧᏃᎮᏍᎬᎢ ᎾᏍᎩ Ꮓ ᏗᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᎩ ᎤᏂᏍᏆᏂᎦᏓᏁᎰᎢ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᎤᎲᎢ Lewis ᎤᏃᎮᏗ.

“ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᏫᏓᏤᏢᎢ ᏗᏕᏲᎲᏍᎩ, ᎠᎴ Ꮓ ᎠᏆᏂᏔ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗᎢ ᎧᏅᏑᎸᎢ ᏂᎨᏒᎾ, ᎠᏎᏃ ᏂᎦᎵᏍᏗᎲᏊᎢ ᎩᎶ ᏴᏕᎶᏆᏏ. ᎢᎦᏃ ᎣᏍᏓ ᎢᏳᏛᏁᎵᏓᏍᏗᎢ ᏧᏯᏂᏗᎢ ᏗᏂᏲᏟ ᎤᏁᎳᏗᏍᏗᎢ ᎧᏃᎮᏢᏍᎬᎢ. ᎣᏍᏓᏃ ᎤᏂᏰᎸᏐᎢ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ.

“ᎠᏏᏃ ᏄᎷᏨᎾ, ᎤᏂᏃᎮᎮᏢ ᎦᎪ ᏗᎦᎷᏥᏏᏒᎢ ᎠᎴ ᎾᏍᎩ (ᏗᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᎩ) ᎤᎾᎴᏅᎲᎢ ᏓᎾᏏᏛᏂᎲᎢ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏂᎾᏫᏍᏛᎢ.”

Carlile Z ᎠᏥᏃᎮᏍᎬᎢ Lewis ᏱᏚᏃᎮᏢ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏗᎧᏃᎮᏗ ᎪᎱᏍᏗᏃ “ᎤᎵᏍᎨᏓ” ᏧᏃᎯᏎᏗ ᏗᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᎩ ᎤᎾᏛᎪᏗᎢ.

“Robert’s Z ᎤᏃᎮᏗ ᎠᏠᏯᏍᏓ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏫᏓᏤᏢᎢ ᏱᏣᏛᏁᏗᎢ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏑᎵᎪᎢᏍᏗᎢ ᏂᎨᏒᎾ ᏛᏕᎶᏆᏍᎬᎢ ᎠᎴ ᏦᎵᎢ ᏗᏩᏛᏗᎢ ᎠᎴ ᏗᎦᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᏗ ᎠᎴ ᏂᎦᎥᏊ ᏱᏣᏛᏁᏗᎢ ᏗᏙᏟᎩ ᏂᎦᎵᏍᏗᎭ ᏃᏣᏛᏁᎲᎢ ᎣᏣᏁᏟᏗᏍᎬᎢ ᏦᏤᏲᏗᎢ ᏗᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᎩ ᎤᏃᏟᏍᏗᎢ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏄᎵᏍᎨᏗᏴᎢ ᎤᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗᎢ ᎠᎴ ᏄᎵᏍᎨᏗᏴᎢ ᎤᎾᏂᏘ ᎢᏳᎵᏍᏙᏗᎢ ᎢᏳᎾᏛᏁᎵᏓᏍᏗᎢ ᏓᏛᏏᏏᏍᎬᎢ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏃᎷᏩᏘᏍᎬᎢ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ.

About the Author

stacie-boston@cherokee.org • xxx

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