ICC Gathers for Full Moon Storytelling
The full moon was just breaking through the clouds Sept. 28 when the Indigenous Cultures Club gathered on the Quad. Organizers say they were there to do what Native Americans have traditionally done for centuries; to gather and tell stories. Seated in a circle, one by one attendees shared tales from their lives and ancestors’ lives well into the night. Some told stories more than 150 years old while others shared tales from just a few years, months or weeks back. It didn’t matter what the nature of the story was. The point of the gathering was to connect with others.
The Indigenous Cultures Club was created last year when it became apparent that there were a lot of Native American students on campus but very few were talking to each other. “We kind of kept to our own cliques,” Treasurer Raven Two Feathers explains. There wasn’t a space for Indigenous students to talk about culture on campus, she says, so, “We saw a hole and decided to fill it.” Not long after, the ICC was formed and has been holding gatherings such as the Full Moon Gathering and last year’s Cultural Gathering ever since. Vice President Hallee Fresco and Two Feathers feel very passionate about The Full Moon Gathering.
“The full moon is a time to cleanse,” says Fresco and added that traditionally gatherings such as these takes place in accordance with the lunar cycle. For many attendees, the event was a good way to get things off their chest.
For one particular storyteller, the night was more than just a cleansing. Anna C Evanitz told a very old Croatian tale about her great great grandfather and how he died of literal laughter. After getting between two men in the middle of a fight, he received an axe to his chest. Luckily for him, the town’s doctor was in the same pub at the time and he survived. They stitched him up and a week later he was back in the pub with his friends. Unfortunately, the group of men began laughing so hard about the whole ordeal that Evanitz’s ancestor spilt his stitches and bled to death.
“My father told me the story when I was a little kid,” Evanitz says. “It reminds me that my family is tough but also has a positive outlook on things.” She wants to adapt the story for film. “I tried to make it before but it came out too depressing. It’s supposed to be a funny story!” Evanitz says that she has told the story before in ICC and it always gets a good reaction. She enjoys sharing the tale even though it doesn’t come from Native American culture, which ICC fully supports.
“Stories are important to pass on experiences from any culture,” says Two Feathers. She believes that whether one is native or not, it’s important to share your past. “Telling stories orally helps you hear someone’s individual voice in a different way than writing or film,” Two Feathers says, which is why she thinks gatherings such as these are so important. They give storytellers a greater means of sharing not only their experiences, but a little bit of themselves as well. It’s more intimate to sit in a circle with a group of people than to send a manuscript to a stranger to read.
The ICC hopes to continue holding storytelling events every month on the quad during the full moon. They are also planning to show Native American themed films during the new moon and are taking suggestions for films now. Regular club meetings are on Sundays in the Film School at a time to be announced. Those interested can learn more by joining the SFUAD Indigenous Cultures Club Facebook group.