NOVEMBER 23, 1021




By Leslie Fields-Cruz

Thankful for Storytellers

As we prepare to celebrate with family and friends during the Thanksgiving holiday, I want to take a moment to thank our storytellers.


Photo of storytellers who competed in PitchBLACK 2019.

From the earliest paintings on cave walls, storytellers have communicated what the world around them was like. Some of us may still paint our stories on walls, but most 21st century storytellers use the latest technologies to communicate our world to others. Truth be told, every human is a storyteller and we are living during extraordinary times when almost anyone’s story has the immense power to sway/influence how people think and act.

Yet, as with the cave paintings of our ancestors, of the millions of the stories being posted on Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, etc …, only a few will survive to be analyzed and dissected by future generations. What story will you leave behind?  

That’s not as easy a question to answer as you might think. For more than a century the story of the first Thanksgiving depicted a harmonious and unified gathering of Native Americans and Pilgrims celebrating a harvest. There is some truth to the story, but the actual narrative about the relationship between the Pilgrims and the northeast indigenous tribal communities is much more complex. If not for our Native American griots who preserved their stories of that era, we might never have been able to challenge the slanted narrative that for so long has idealized this American tradition.   

So, I’m thankful for our modern-day griots who are telling OUR story, OUR truth about OUR lived experiences in this world.  

Happy Thanksgiving!


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