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Storytellers at the Smoki event returns to Prescott museum for third year

Nanabah Aragon is one of the storytellers participating in the Smoki Museum’s annual Storytellers at the Smoki event. (Courtesy/Cindy Gresser)

Nanabah Aragon is one of the storytellers participating in the Smoki Museum’s annual Storytellers at the Smoki event. (Courtesy/Cindy Gresser)

After Christmas is all said and done, there really isn't a whole lot to do until the New Year's Eve parties start on Thursday, Dec. 31. However, the Smoki Museum, 147 N. Arizona Ave., has put together Storytellers at the Smoki, now in its third year, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 27. This year's event has introduced a puppet show for the kids.

Storytellers at the Smoki got its start after the desire to have a holiday event relating to native people and their traditions, Executive Director Cindy Gresser said.

"How do you effectively blend those two together without disrespecting either tradition?" Gresser said. "So a little bit of study led us to the conclusion that native people tell their stories after winter solstice. It's a time for families to come together, stay inside, stay warm."

Admission is $7 for adults, $6 for seniors, $5 for students and free for children under 12, native people and museum members. Cookies and warm cider are included.

After talking to native friends, it turned out they had stories to share, Gresser said. However, creation stories are never shared until after winter solstice in many Southwestern cultures, she said. So it was decided to try storytelling events, which have been very successful, Gresser said. The event is good for kids as they get to hear charming and sweet stories with a moral or warning at the end.

This year, Storytellers at the Smoki is introducing a puppet show at 1 p.m., Gresser said. One of the volunteers has put together a story and a stage.

"It'll be based on a native story," Gresser said. "We're always trying to figure out ways to engage the kids and certainly characterizing putting to life some of the characters in the story, like coyotes, owls and turtles, that's a good way to engage the kids."

The event just might be the only place for some people to hear these stories, Gresser said. Unless someone is friends with a native person, they're not going to hear them anywhere else, she said. As a dog lover, she especially likes the Hopi story of how Coyote put the stars in the sky, Gresser said.

By Jason Wheeler. Follow reporter Jason Wheeler on Twitter @PrescottWheels. Reach him at 928-445-3333 ext. 2037 or at 928-642-5277.

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