Storyteller Dovie Thomason will appear at Menlo Park Library on May 23

by Linda Hubbard Gulker on May 20, 2018

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When celebrated storyteller Dovie Thomason visits Menlo Park on May 23, she will be shedding light on the government boarding schools that were charged with “re-educating” Native American children.

The Pennsylvania-based performer, appearing at the Menlo Park Main Library, will share her original 90-minute story, “The Spirit Survives: The Boarding School Experience Then and Now” from 6:30 to 8:00 pm on May 23. The piece is intended for listeners from age 12 to adult.

Thomason introduces her listeners to the Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania and its profound and broad-reaching impact on Indian and non-Indian people since its inception in 1879 and far beyond its closing in 1918. She shades this history with personal memoir, biography of indigenous activists and culture keepers of the 19th and 20th centuries and the impact of the boarding schools on Indian people today.

Her story explores the inner resources that enabled the spirit and identity of Native peoples to survive and raises provocative questions for all contemporary Americans: Why does this matter to Americans in the 21st century? Can we learn from this? What must be done that we can move on?

Thomason says her program helps her audience become “comfortable with discomfort,” in a journey of respect and reconciliation.

As a narrative voice and teller of traditional stories from her Lakota and Kiowa Apache relations, Dovie Thomason has been featured in documentaries about Native People and storytelling for the BBC, NPR, and PBS. She is a favorite voice at major storytelling festivals throughout North America and abroad. As a member of the National Storytelling Network, she is an honoree in NSN s Circle of Excellence, receiving their prestigious Oracle Award in 2007.

Funding for this free event comes from the Friends of the Menlo Park Library.

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