Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Canadian Roots Exchange (CRE) is hosting the virtual storytelling event “Winter Legends Series” on Wednesday, Jan. 26. This will be the first in a series of storytelling events that the CRE will host through the winter season and will feature traditional storyteller and cultural educator Perry Ground, who will “share good medicine through these stories.”
Ground is a New York-based Turtle Clan member of the Onondaga Nation of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Confederacy with more than 30 years of experience in telling stories, most of which he learned from Elders of various Indigenous communities. Ground is the 2021-2022 Rochester Institute of Technology Frederick H. Minett Professor, a prestigious position where a multicultural professional each year is appointed to share their professional knowledge and experience with RIT’s students, faculty, and staff for one academic year.
“Winter is the time for storytelling in many Native communities,” Ground said, “but we have been kept apart for the past two years. This virtual series will allow us to spend time together and share the traditional knowledge and understanding that comes from the stories.”
Known for his interactive style of storytelling, Ground has been sharing stories since his college days as an optimistic and engaging way to educate both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people about Indigenous culture and traditions.
“My stories are told in a positive, exciting, dynamic way so that everyone who listens and watches will have an enjoyable time and will learn more about Native American culture, particularly about the Haudenosaunee.”
Ground believes storytelling events such as the “Winter Legends Series” are vital, as they allows for the opportunity to pass on cultural and historical information “about our people that shouldn’t be lost or forgotten just because we are now living modern lives.
“The telling of stories,” he continued, “is one of the things that makes us human beings and they allow us to connect with one another despite differences in age, place or culture. The more we tell stories and listen to stories, the more we understand each other as people.”
But just as important as the telling of the story “is the traditions, beliefs, and values that come from my community and that are embedded in the stories. Sharing part of my cultural heritage is the reason the Creator put me here, and I’m honoured to carry on this tradition.”
The CRE, a registered charity based out of Toronto, is made up of a group of Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth “who believe that in order to bridge the gap between Canada’s peoples and work towards reconciliation, we need to become educated and aware of the teachings, triumphs, and daily realities of Indigenous communities,” reads the website.
Through workshops, gatherings, and leadership trainings, the CRE bring together youth in cities and towns across the country in an effort to break down stereotypes, open up dialogues, and build honest relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.
“Remember to attend with a cousin, relative, youth or aunty, bring the family to embark on this journey of knowledge,” suggests the organizers of the legends event. “Shorter days are meant for spending time together and sharing stories.”
The “Winter Legends Series” virtual event will take place from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Jan 26. Register here: Event Registration: Winter Legends (google.com)
Local Journalism Initiative Reporters are supported by a financial contribution made by the Government of Canada.