Native American Storyteller to Give Presentations

By Sue Wuetcher

Release Date: March 13, 2006

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Stories of the Americas, a performance and speaker series presented by the American Studies Graduate Student Association at the University at Buffalo, will debut later this month with several presentations by Native American storyteller Ishmael Hope.

Hope, whose work as an actor and storyteller has taken him to communities throughout Alaska, will be in Buffalo March 24-26 and share his storytelling in several different settings.

On March 24, he will perform at the Native American Magnet School in Buffalo.

The following day, he will conduct a storytelling workshop from 1-5 p.m. in Room 188 of Alumni Arena on the UB North (Amherst) Campus. The workshop, which will be free and open to the public, is aimed at adults, and college and high school students, and will offer an opportunity for participants to learn how to share stories from their own heritage. To reserve a spot in the workshop, contact Lisa Hayes at

Hope will conclude his visit to Buffalo with a public performance of several stories from his culture, followed by a discussion on the artistry and ethics of Native storytelling.

The event, "The Sea Monster and Other Alaskan Native Stories," will be held from 2-4 p.m. March 26 in the auditorium at the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library's Central Branch, 1 Lafayette Square, Buffalo. A reception hosted by the UB student chapter of the American Library Association, and the UB Department of Library and Information Studies, UB School of Informatics and UB Graduate Student Association will be held immediately following the event.

Hope is an Inupiaq and Tlingit storyteller of the Kiks.ádi clan of the Point House in Sitka, and his performances are steeped in native tradition.

He currently is developing "The Raven Odyssey," a multi-year collaboration with the Perseverance Theatre in Juneau, Alaska, involving the collection of stories, cultures and histories from native cultures across Alaska. The project will craft a pan-Alaskan raven story about a Native Alaskan man's journey of self-discovery. The story will feature a common figure in Alaskan myth -- a trickster raven, a shapeshifter, confounder, comedian and giver of insight.

The Stories of the Americas series will continue on April 4 with a presentation by Murray Wagner, manager of policy and litigation for the Treaty Policy Directorate, Department of Indian Affairs Canada. A specialist on First Nation treaties, Wagner will speak at 7 p.m. in 210 Butler Library at Buffalo State College. He will discuss the Canadian government's roundtable policy-renewal initiatives from 1995 to the present. The initiation of an extensive aboriginal policy-review process within Canada's federal government came from this roundtable.

With Native American treaties playing an important role in Western New York, Wagner's presentation offers a unique opportunity to gain insight into how our neighbors to the north are addressing similar issues. The presentation, which will be free and open to the public, will be followed by a reception.

The Stories of the Americas series is sponsored by the American Studies Graduate Student Association, Department of Library and Information Studies Graduate Student Association, American Library Association Student Chapter, Department of American Studies, Department of Theatre and Dance, Department of Art and Native American Peoples Alliance, all at UB; the Educational Opportunity Program, the History and Social Studies Education, International and Exchange Programs, the Native American Student Association and United Student Government, all at Buffalo State College; the Native American Magnet School; Empire State College; the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library, and Indian Northern Affairs Canada (INAC).

For further information about the Stories of the Americas series, contact Lisa Hayes, president of the UB American Studies Graduate Student Association, at 984-7100 or