This toolkit and its stories were written in collaboration with Dr. Joseph Bruchac, an Abenaki Elder from the city of Greenfield Center, NY. He is a poet, writer and storyteller; and a scholar of Native American culture. Below are a few stories Dr. Bruchac has been kind enough to share, in a format that makes them simple and entertaining to pass on. Though they are not specifically about whales, a number of them do include whales, and they all touch on key concepts of nature stewardship, community and communication.
For reference, you can find videos of Dr. Bruchac telling the stories here.
In preparation for storytime, Dr. Bruchac helps familiarize us with traditions and ethics of indigenous storytelling:
This story is about how Gluskonba looks to bring spring and summer back to his village after a long winter. It includes themes of listening to the elderly and to others' advice, showing empathy and care for others, and sharing one's knowledge with others. It also features a whale and highlights the order and duration of the seasons.
This story is about how four men tried to find Gluskonba, so he would grant them each a wish. Each man had a special skill and had to obey Gluskonba's instructions to get their wish! The story includes themes of listening and following instructions, being patient, remembering what you have learned, and showing care for others.
This story is about how Gluskonba introduces villagers to the drum. It takes place in a time when no one in the village shares anything with anyone anymore. Through sharing the song of the drum and bringing the joy of dance, Gluskonba teaches the villagers the importance of sharing and caring for others.
This story is about the monster Kiwakw [kee-WAKW], who is made to believe that it is a grandfather to the woman it was going to eat! The woman melts the monster's heart with kindness and turns it into a wonderful grandfather. The story includes themes of observing and listening, showing compassion and empathy, and sharing with others. Note: There are some graphic moments in the story (monster eating people, blood dripping from the monster’s face.)