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Storyteller Johnny Moses to Appear at Hamilton College

By staff  |  Contact staff
Posted September 26, 1997
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Internationally recognized Native-American storyteller Johnny Moses will appear at Hamilton College on Wednesday, Oct. 8, at 8 p.m. at the Fillius Events Barn, in the Beinecke Student Activities Village. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Moses is of mixed ancestry; he is half Nookta and half Tulalip, and carries the medicine teachings of his pacific Northwest ancestors. He is fluent in eight native languages including native sign language and tells each story in its original language alternating with English.

Raised by his maternal grandparents who were both practicing shamans, Moses learned his stories from his elders. "That is how we preserve our way of life - through listening to our elders," Moses says. "Everything has to be memorized. The elders were the ones to pass on the history and traditions of the nation and that is mainly through oral history and storytelling."

Moses is also a traditional healer and respected spiritual leader. At age 12, he was dying from cancer that had attacked his lungs, stomach and intestines. Chemotherapy had proved ineffective, and the young Moses was sent home to die, but he was healed by his elders.

In the Northwest coast nations, dreams are used for healing. "You could appear in the dream and whatever you needed healing in, that could happen in the dream," Moses explains. He dreamed that the cancer turned into food and his people would eat the food every night in his dreams. Within a year the cancer was gone.

As part of his visit to Hamilton, Moses also will take part in a healing ceremony on Friday, Oct. 10, at 4 p.m. in the Fillius Events Barn. His visit is sponsored by the departments of Religious Studies and Theatre and Dance, the College 100 course and the Office of the Chaplaincy.

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