Dovie Thomason: Stories of the First Nations
The wise, boisterous teaching tales of her Lakota and Plains Apache relatives come alive in listeners’ imaginations as Dovie Thomason shares her culture with understanding, sly humor and astonishing vocal transformations. Told with elegance, wit and passion, her stories inspire delight in the spoken word and teach respect for values passed on through generations. When Dovie tells stories from her own life and from her people’s experience, the result is a contemporary vision of the rich cultures of the First Nations of North America. A former teacher, Dovie is an NEA and Arts International recipient, Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers’ Traditional Storyteller of the Year and was honored with the National Storytelling Network’s 2007 Circle of Excellence Award.
Powerful Native American storytelling…
— THE WASHINGTON POST
For over two decades, my work has been exclusively in the preservation and continuation of Native cultural arts, utilizing the art form of traditional Native storytelling. I have developed a wide variety of traditional storytelling programs for all ages, with the intent of sharing an indigenous perspective on Native cultures, stories and concerns, based in my own Lakota/Kiowa Apache tradition and including experience working with culture-bearers of Iroquois, Algonquian and other Native nations.
Artist’s website: Dovie Thomason: Stoires of the First Nations
This program takes a more serious look at problems which can affect our families and communities – anger, prejudice, and violence towards women. It is suitable for older students (mature middle school and above) and should include time for discussion.
Lessons from the Animal People
This program offers an intertribal sampling of the animal stories which often explain the what and why questions about the Earth and her animal children-why bear hibernates, why rabbit has no tail, etc. They are also used, as all stories are, to teach proper behavior and values.
Monsters and Courage
Here are stories of monsters and the brave men, women and children who overcame them. Although they can be scary, they are always life-affirming and teach how to overcome fear, deal with evil and look at the “monstrous” mistakes we can all make.
First told to her by her grandmother, these traditional stories about animals and hero/tricksters provide a clearer understanding of the values and cultures of the diverse First Nations of North America. Whether a talkative Turtle or overbearing Buffalo, the characters face the importance of choices as listeners are held spellbound by Dovie’s animated style and character voices.
The Spirit Survives: The Boarding School Experience Then and Now
This original 90 minute story explores a tragic chapter in our nation’s history. For decades the First Nations of North America suffered the loss of their children to government boarding schools, where they were forcibly “re-educated” to assimilation and “civilization”, at the cost of culture and identity. 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? With honor, compassion and imagination, Thomason helps her audience become “comfortable with discomfort,” in a journey of respect and reconciliation.
Stories of the Four Directions
This program offers a sampling of stories from the diverse Native cultures from different regions of the country-
- Northeastern Woodlands includes Iroquois and various Algonquian stories
- Southeastern Woodlands includes Cherokee and other Southeastern stories
- Plains includes Lakota stories
- Southwestern includes Apache and Pueblo stories
These regions are also available as single, regional programs of stories.
The Trickster, He was Going Along
Trickster stories are part of all Native cultures. The stories of tricksters like Iktomi, Turtle, Raccoon, and Coyote show the similarities and differences among different Native peoples and their stories.
Single $650/Back-to-Back $850
Fees are for daytime school programs in Maryland, Washington, DC and Northern Virginia only.
Evening, weekend, workshop and non-school fees differ – please contact us.
Additional travel fees apply.
Art Forms, Storytelling
Program Type, Performance, Workshop, Residency
Curriculum/Theme, Language Arts, Social Studies, STEM, World Languages, Character/SEL, Green