Traditional Artist Spotlight: Esther Stutzman

by Sanna Parikka, OFN Intern

American Indian Kalapuya and Coos storyteller, Esther Stutzman captivated those lucky enough to be present at the OFN Open House event in April. An enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz, founding member of the Northwest Indian Storyteller’s association, Stutzman is the primary storyteller for the Mother Earth’s Children theatre. Her family members are also involved with drumming and singing at important occasions around the state.

Stutzman learned the tradition of storytelling from her family members and community elders, and has been practicing all her life. Kalapuya and Coos stories often include animal characters to convey cultural values. Some stories are appropriate for any occasion relevant to their theme, while others are meant for particular times of the year. Kalapuya and Coos peoples regard traditional stories and songs as sacred and particular to those who tell them. Stutzman has only thirteen stories that she shares with the public; the rest are exclusively for family and tribal members.

According to Stutzman, the way you tell a story has a crucial role in bringing the story alive. For example, she uses pauses and varies her tone as well as paces her performance to maintain the suspense of a particular story line.

A cultural educator above all, Esther Stutzman is the Founding Director of the American Indian Youth Camp – now in its 37th year of sharing cultural knowledge and Native traditions to school-age youth.

OFN Artist Panel Discussion Report

by: Adrian Engstrom von Alten, OFN Undergraduate Intern

In conjunction with its Open House, the Oregon Folklife Network hosted an Artist Panel Discussion on April 18, 2013. OFN invited three Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program (TAAP) awardees to discuss their traditional work with the public. The TAAP program funds master traditional artists and their apprentices in order to carry on Oregon’s cultural traditions. Esther Stutzman, a Native storyteller, Daniela Mahoney, a Slovak/Ukrainian egg decorator, and Mark Ross, an American folk musician discussed their unique cultural traditions and backgrounds. The OFN is proud to support artists who could entertain and educate the public about their art, while helping to preserve and perpetuate Oregon’s traditions bearers’ valuable knowledge.

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OFN at Association of Western States Folklorists Annual Meeting

by Lyle Murphy, OFN Intern

The Oregon Folklife Network attended the Association of Western States Folklorists (AWSF) annual meeting in Laramie, WY at the Vee Bar Guest Ranch from April 25-27. The conference included discussion topics such as the navigation of crowd sourced funding, the organizational future of AWSF, and a regional collaboration focusing on riverways. There was a particular emphasis on developing a larger presence of graduate students and younger professionals than in previous years; this would ensure their perspectives and ideas were heard, especially in the future development of AWSF.

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‘Arts in Parks’ Program Launches in June!

This June, in partnership with the Oregon State Parks and the Oregon Arts Commission, the OFN will launch a new series of free public demonstrations, performances, and workshops featuring five celebrated folk and traditional artists in five different state parks across Oregon.

Master folk and traditional artists Mark Ross, Sherry Steele, Pat Courtney Gold, Wilverna Reece, and Esther Stutzman will present a variety of cultural traditions from old time music and fly tying to Wasco sally bag and Warm Springs basket weaving as well as Kalapuya and Coos storytelling. In addition to diversifying park audiences and providng professional development opportunities for Oregon’s tradition bearers, the Arts in Parks program will also strengthen and grow Oregon’s cultural infrastructure and create models for future Arts in Parks collaborations like residencies and summer camps. OFN graduate intern, Karen Agocs, is coordinating the program for its pilot year; she has been assisted by Adrian Engstrom von Alten, OFN undergraduate intern.

Oregon Folklife Network is hiring!

2 Contract Fieldworker Positions Starting July, 2013

The Oregon Folklife Network seeks to hire two professional folklorists to conduct folklife field surveys and documentation of traditions in the southern Oregon counties of Malheur, Harney, Lake, and Klamath (fieldwork regions will be divided up based on the experience and backgrounds of the folklorists selected). Work for this project may begin any time after July 15, 2013 but must be completed by June 30, 2014 (including all paperwork). Fieldwork days need not be consecutive, and, in fact, two field trips would be ideal.

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