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The Indigenous Experience NW2013 event was proud to showcase these amazing storytellers. We are actively looking for storytellers or poets for our next event.
Ed Edmo
Acclaimed poet, performer, traditional storyteller and lecturer on Northwest tribal culture, consultant to the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian, and recipient of a national Endowment for the Arts grant, Ed Edmo conducts writing workshops, storytelling performances, and informational lectures.

A Native American with Shoshone-Bannock-Nez Perce tribal affiliation, Ed served as a consultant to the Native American architects of the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian. Ed narrated the production "Children of the Raven" for the Eugene Ballet Company. He's performed his play, "Grandma Coke Cherry" at a number of places including Fishtrap in Wallowa, Oregon, and at the Newberry Library in Chicago, among many other places.
In 1995, Ed joined the Eugene Ballet Company’s world tour performing “Through Coyote’s Eyes: A Visit with Ed Edmo,” in Syria, India, and Jordan. Ed adapted the Klickitat legend, “Bridge of the Gods” for the Tears of Joy Puppet Theatre in 1997, with a National Endowment for the Arts Grant, marking his success in playwriting. In 1998, Ed taught “Legend as Drama” at the Longhouse of Evergreen State College.

Edmo’s poetry, short stories, and plays have been published in: A Nation With-In, Outrigger Press, Hamilton, New Zealand, 1983; These Few Words of Mine, Blue Cloud Quarterly, Marvin, South Dakota, 1985; “After Celilo” Talking Leaves, Dell, New York, N.Y., 1991; “Walking On Water” Headwaters, A Leftbank Book, Blue Heron Press, Hillsboro, Oregon, 1994. “Through Coyote’s Eyes: A Visit with Ed Edmo” took first place at the Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center play festival, 1990; “Raintee: The Play” won a staged reading, 1986.

His poem, “Indian Education Blues” appears on Tri-Met Busses in the program Poetry in Motion, 1997 and in stone at The Valley Library, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon. Ed has been going to Coffee Creek Women's Penitentiary with Red Lodge on a regular basis, doing suicide prevention. Ed conducts writing workshops and performs his one man theater pieces throughout the US.
Ester Stutzman
Esther Stutzman is Coos and Komemma Kalapuya and an enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz. She lives in Yoncalla, Oregon. The Kalapuya people lived in the Willamette Valley from the Clackamas River area near Oregon City down the valley to the Umpqua River near Roseburg, a span of about 150 miles from the coast range inland to the Cascades.

Esther is a storyteller and history keeper. She tells only Coos and Kalapuya stories. Her grandmother told her that it was bad luck to tell other people or other tribes' stories. Stories are regarded as private property, as are songs. She has thirteen stories she shares with the public. Some of her creation stories tell of the time when animals and people could talk together.

There's an oral history told of her great great grandfather, Camafeema, the headman of the Komemma people who lived in the village, Splachta Alla, near present day Yoncalla. Locally he was known as Halo. When Halo was confronted by soldiers after the 1855 Willamette Valley Treaty, he refused to move to the reservation.
The soldiers didn't know what to do. The prominent and politically influential Applegate family stepped in. They were extremely good friends with the Komemma people. The soldiers left and Halo and his family of 70-80 people were allowed to stay and were not moved to the reservation.

Very little known about dances and music of Kalapuya. Ancestors who went to the reservations quickly adopted the European ways and quit singing and dancing. The Oregon Historical Society has a few tapes of some songs and Esther knows four Komemma family songs. Esther is the chair to a non-profit Kalapuya organization, Komemma Cultural Protection Association, dedicated to researching the Kalapuya and they are doing a lot of research about the dances.

Esther has recreated a Kalapuya basket hat that is made out of spruce root and bear grass. She finds the spruce root on the coast and the bear grass in the valley. She worked with a traditional weaver, went to museums and talked to a lot of people about exactly how the hats looked. Basketry is being recreated along with a Kalapuya long canoe. A master boat builder, John McCallum, works with many northwest tribes in re-creating their traditional canoes. He is helping with the Kalapuya long canoe.

When Esther does presentations she tries to give an overview of the culture, sometimes taking some items such as a cradleboard or family heirlooms as illustrations. Esther's audiences include all ages from little children to adults. The settings are in classrooms, in churches or in community buildings. She also works with summer camp programs for Indian children, works with environmental agencies, and is an advisor for the elders. She takes a hand drum and big drum to do music with the children. She loves to speak to non-Indian groups. It's a way to tell the truth about the tribal culture and also to get the true story to the public rather than rely on stereotypes. Other topics she may consider using involve contemporary issues, treaties, environment and how the Indians took care of the land, and health and wellness. She tries to present a balanced overview to give a good background of what the Indian people were really all about.

Esther published a book of traditional Coos stories in 1997. It was printed on an old historic press in Bandon, Oregon. She was a curriculum developer for K-12 in Coos Bay, Oregon and works with Indian education programs. She has also worked with the Oregon Folklife Council at the Oregon Historical Society, the Applegate House Heritage Arts and Education in Yoncalla, Oregon, and as a board member of the McKenzie River Gathering Foundation.