PB Renewal Center hears from Native American Story Table

By Dennis Coday

Clay Countians for Inclusion (CC4I) hosted a Story Table at Precious Blood Renewal Center April 20 that featured speakers from local Native American nations. About 60 people attended the event which included a Native American taco bar dinner with fry bread and blue corn cakes.

Pictured above are (left-right) Natalie Moultrie of CC4I, Brad Campbell, Ioway tribe, Aysa Benally of the Navajo Nation and Miss Haskell Indian Nations University, Lawrence, Kansas, Shari Golden of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, Amanda Buzzard of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, and Gina Huston of CC4I.

The Story Table is a unique educational experience of people who embody a shared cultural experience. Authentic conversations occur over a meal as voices share their lived experiences.

According to one of the evening’s conveners, Pastor Gina Houston, “The Story Table is a time of learning, sharing and healing as we gather to listen to the authentic stories of others while sharing a meal. … [we] discover new perspectives as we see through the eyes of others.”

Campbell suggested people watch the documentary “The Ioway: The Lost Nation” by Kelley and Tammy Rundle. Visit https://www.iowaymovie.com/ to learn more.

Asked what message she wanted people to take away from the evening, Buzzard replied, “We are still here,” meaning that Native peoples are still part of today’s society.

Buzzard, who works at Mid-Continent Public Library in Independence, Missouri, encouraged everyone to study Native American history, much of which is left out of the formal history lessons we learn in school. “Native American History is American History, so it is all of our history. Filling in those missing pieces helps all of us know ourselves better,” she said.

She also advised “learning about Native People from Native People. Read a book written by a Native Person.” She provided the following list of books and references.

For Adults

  • Native American Resilience: A Story of Racism, Genocide and Survival by P.S. Streng.
  • Project 562 by Matika Wilbur
  • Everything You Wanted to Know About Indians But Were Afraid to Ask by Anton Treuer (This book also has a teen version.)

For Teens

  • An Indigenous People’s History of the United States for Young People by Jean Mendoza. (This book as an adult version by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz.)
  • Killing the Wittigo: Indigenous Culture-based Approaches to Waking Up, Taking Action and Doing the Work of Healing. A book for Young Adults by Suzanne Methot.
  • Urban Tribes by Lisa Charelyboy

Younger Children

  • Powwow by Karen Pheasant-Neganigwane
  • The People Shall Continue by Simon J. Oritz
  • We Are Still Here by Traci Sorell
  • My Powerful Hair by Carole Lindstrom.

Clay Countians for Inclusion, which aims “to increase the interactions and understanding among people of varying races, abilities, genders, sexual orientations and religions,” has hosted several Story Tables at the Renewal Center, including one for African American men and another for the Jewish community addressing antisemitism.

[Dennis Coday manages communication and outreach for Precious Blood Renewal Center. He maintains the Renewal Center’s website and email newsletters.]


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