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April 29: Teachings of Our Elders - Violet Smith shares stories from her grandma

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North Dakota Native American essential understanding number two is about learning and storytelling. It states, "Traditional teaching and the passing on of knowledge and wisdom was done through storytelling, song, ceremony, and daily way of life, often incorporating specific gender- and age-specific responsibilities. These continue to be some of the best modes for learning for both native and non-native learners."

In this episode of Dakota Datebook, we'll listen to Violet Smith, enrolled member of the Spirit Lake Dakota Nation, as she shares about stories from her grandma.

Violet Smith:

I know my grandma used to always tell me stories, and she'd talk about ... She'd tell me stories about how to put in a garden, and she'd go on with when it grows and keep it clean, grows, and then you dry a lot of it for the fall, I mean for the winter. Because in those days, sometimes ... I mean, those days you didn't have stoves, and I guess so sometimes they have to cook outside. And she said ... And our meat. We don't have no refrigerator, so we dry it. She said we dry to meat and corn, peas, mostly all vegetables and meats, deer, deer meat, and sometimes even ducks, rabbits. She'd say ... And she'd go on, and that's the way it's ... She said, "You're going to live with all this when you do this. Then you're going to have your own children one of these times, and you got to teach them all what I'm telling you."

If you'd like to learn more about the North Dakota Native American essential understandings, and to listen to more Indigenous elder interviews, visit teachingsofourelders.org.

Dakota Datebook is made in partnership with the State Historical Society of North Dakota, and funded by Humanities North Dakota, a nonprofit, independent state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the program do not necessarily reflect those of Humanities North Dakota or the National Endowment for the Humanities.