The Kekionga Storytelling Festival takes place this Saturday at Headwaters Park from 10 am to 4 pm with a concert by Douglas Blue Feather.
One of the storytellers appearing, is Shawnee Dark Rain Thom.
Background provided by the Festival:
Shawnee Dark Rain Thom is a traditional elder and tribal historian. Shawnee means “People of the South Winds.” Dark Rain’s father was part Shawnee and part Wyandot and several other tribes, while her mother’s people were Cherokee from Alabama. Shawnee ancestors traveled the land east of the Mississippi.
She lives with her husband, nationally recognized author and storyteller James Alexander Thom, near Bloomington, Indiana, and she has served on the Shawnee tribal council for more than 30 years. She has written a book that spans 500 years worth of oral traditions of the Shawnee people as well as their modern history backed up by white man’s records. In 2010 it will be reprinted by Blue River Press of Indianapolis. She coauthored Warrior Woman with her husband, which concerns a Shawnee WOMAN Chief, a real person who lived during Revolutionary War times and was an American sympathizer in part because of her vast traveling and seeing the huge numbers of whites already infecting the land, as well as being converted to Christianity by the Moravian Baptists. She has recently finished a book on genealogy highlighting researching Native Americans in your ancestry, by documents. She hopes to present it to several interested publishers before years end. “I have been working on a book based on the adventures of my grandfather’s life, the Shawnee grandfather,” says Thom. “What I have found in my investigations makes me believe it could be a successful series.”
Dark Rain shares with diverse audiences the history and oral tradition of her people, place of origin and migration stories, as well as medicines, food, life ways which includes traditional etiquette for young people, and spiritual values. She tells stories of going hunting with her great uncle and how she was tested for her hunting skills, even though she was a girl. Dark Rain strives to serve as a bridge between two cultures that share this land. She knows songs and dances that have been passed down from tribal family to tribal family. She is one of the teachers of the young warriors in training, works with young girls, teaches medicinal herbs, and traditional healing. “The old traditional stories function like Aesop Fables did,” she notes. “They teach our moral standards, our code of peaceful, respectful living with each other andÂ there entire creation that Creator made to sustain us, and they usually were funny. Being funny made them more memorable.”
Dark Rain Thom will alternate with the other storytellers every hour on the hour.