Last week I had the privilege to lead a “Celebrate Oklahoma Voices” workshop for Storychasers at Kenwood School, which is located about an hour northeast of Tulsa, Oklahoma. 100 percent of the students attending Kenwood School are Cherokee. The school is small, with about 80 total students, and serves students in grades K-12. The teachers who participated in the two day digital storytelling workshop did a great job sharing aspects of their culture and community. I particularly loved how several used musical tracks of their students at Kenwood singing songs in the Cherokee language. I feel completely “centered” professionally when I facilitate workshops on oral history and digital storytelling for teachers like those in Kenwood. I was inspired by their stories and hard work! Here are five of the outstanding stories Kenwood teachers created last week. These are now featured on the Celebrate Oklahoma Voices learning community.
The Cherokee Language by Janice Ballou tells the story of family gatherings in ‘days gone by’ when stories were shared in Cherokee. According to Janice, “stories are always funnier and scarier when they are told in Cherokee!” Janice also interviewed kindergarten teacher Faye Ross, who explained how she teaches her students the Cherokee language to enhance their cultural literacy and pride in their Cherokee heritage.
Mom’s Pretty Boy Floyd Story by Tambra Dewey is an adorable interview with Tambra’s mother, who relates a story she was told as a child by her grandmother who used to cook and give shelter to Pretty Boy Floyd and his gang in the 1930s near Salina, Oklahoma.
Kenwood Cultural Day Presentation by Wanda Wilson McBride describes Kenwood School’s 2011 Cultural Day which celebrated Cherokee culture. Her retelling made me want to bring my own kids to this special event next year!
Kenwood School Cherokee Choir by Faye Ross features an interview with music teacher Janice Ballou. The Kenwood Choir has traveled and shared the Cherokee language as well as songs in a remarkable number of places including Washington DC and Japan. “Through the music, kids can express themselves, and that is why I love sharing music in the Cherokee language.” I LOVE the music tracks Faye included in this video!
Grandmother’s Story by Annetta M Bundy tells the remarkable tale of Annetta’s grandmother who “led a busy life with two husbands and twelve children (including a set of identical twin girls.” The hardships of the past can barely be comprehended by students today who are blessed with so many things as well as opportunities. Digital stories like this one can help us connect and remember.
If you are trying to view these videos on an iOS device like an iPad or iPhone, I encourage you to use the Skyfire Web Browser ($3) to convert the Flash-format videos on the fly to a format readable on Apple mobile devices. We are in the process of working on a transcoding solution for our videos on Celebrate Oklahoma Voices, as well as Celebrate Kansas Voices and Celebrate Texas Voices.
If you are in or near Oklahoma or Kansas, please register to attend one of our two day digital storytelling workshops this summer! Our opportunities to digitally create, learn and share continue!