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Native Beginnings

Storyteller, David Guerra embraces the audience with three distinct Native American stories from the Pueblo, Lakota Plains, and Iroquois cultures.  Children are invited to particpate in these traditional tales featuring such lively characters as the Coyote, Grandmother Spider and the Flying Head.

David Guerra explains the purpose of storytelling in Native American culture and invites students to join him around an imaginary fire in “the long house,” or winter lodging, for a round of traditional stories. In telling the Pueblo Indian myth about how man was created by The Creator he introduces the trickster, Coyote. Coyote interferes when he finds The Creator preparing to bake a figure in the oven. The Creator hoping it will be a two legged human later realizes that Coyote has reshaped the figure into a four-legged creature, Dog. The Creator is not pleased until his baked figure is complete which he calls Man. Dog becomes Man’s best friend. David guides the audience inviting them to help enact the myth by playing characters from the story. Students enjoy even more participation playing different animals as Ruben shares a Lakota Plains Indian story about how the sun ended up in the sky. In this story, commonly known as “Grandmother Spider” he shares how a few characters from the animal kingdom wanted light to be able to see and keep warm. Light was coming from the Sun on the other side of the world, but those enjoying it would not share it. The animals came up with schemes to steal the Sun. Fox decides to steal the sun in his mouth and ends up with a black mouth. Possum ends up with a bare tail after attempting to hide the sun in its’ tail. Grandmother Spider finds a way for everyone to enjoy the sun. The final story from the Iroquois Indians is a ghost story about a brave young woman who unlike her fearful neighbors stays in her village home awaiting the Flying Head. The Flying Head fed on human flesh. The young woman sitting near her fireplace, talking to her baby, completely aware that the Flying Head has entered her home, exclaims how delicious the hot coals from the fireplace tastes. She says the hot coals taste better than human flesh. The Flying Head greedy for anything more delicious than human flesh rushes to the fireplace and devours the flaming, hot coals. Burning its’ throat, it flies out the home, out of the village and into the wilderness never to be seen or heard of again.

Written by Willard Simms; Performed by David Guerra.

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