I had the great opportunity today to attend the annual Dynamic Chickasaw Women’s Conference, hosted by the Chickasaw Nation Arts and Humanities Division. There was a lovely panel of three accomplished ladies discussing the importance of “Our Stories.” Like other Native American tribes, storytelling is a critical part of the Chickasaw culture and core to our identity as a people. It was fascinating to listen to these wise Chickasaw women talk about the impact of stories in their lives:
- Stories from elder women about their lives
- Traditional Chickasaw stories
- Personal stories of trials and successes to be shared with other Chickasaw
- Development of Chickasaw history through story sharing
One of the panelists, Robyn Perry Coe (@art_test), emphasized how important it is to share stories with young Chickasaw; that without the stories, they won’t have their identity, won’t know who they are. This line of thinking sent me down a yellow brick road that I want to share with you.
When I researched Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) for my Master’s thesis, I learned that a narrative expression of the traumatic event signifies the recovery phase. These narratives weave a shared cultural map of beliefs and wisdom. They express a spirit of survival and the character of a people. Storytelling defines us and sharing stories with the next generation gives them references for their own life as well as paints the broad strokes of their identity.
I think there may be more here, but I wanted to get this little Pop of Thought out. Narrate my experience. Share it before it evaporated.