Functions of Storytelling

A Choctaw Response to Violence: Authenticity?

A Choctaw Response to Violence: Authenticity?

We live in a historical moment where hatred and violence are promoted, not only by individuals and splinter groups, but also by governments. Is it possible that we can learn how to hold onto our true selves in such a moment? 

What’s more, can we learn about that kind of authenticity from Native Americans, who have had a few hundred years of practice at the receiving end of hatred and violence?

Tim Tingle is a Choctaw storyteller and novelist, who work models a sense of connection that is rare in our wider society.

In fact, Tim’s novels for teens and young adults—mostly written in the historical past—show us something about what it might mean to be authentic today…

Tim Tingle: A Choctaw Approach to Authenticity

Tim Tingle: A Choctaw Approach to Authenticity

I first got to know Tim Tingle when I moved to Oklahoma in 2004. After my wife Pam and I had spent time with Tim in several contexts, he invited us to attend the Choctaw Nation’s annual Labor Day Festival in the tribal capitol, Tvshka Homma (Tuscahoma), Oklahoma.

Pam and I had the great privilege there of meeting some of the elders who had taught Tim his stories. But most of all, we got a glimpse of some unspoken parts of Choctaw culture.

A case in point: we heard many stories from Tim and from his friends about the jokes they had played on Tim...

Can We Give Thanks Through Stories?

Can We Give Thanks Through Stories?

We know that stories can inspire, teach, or warn. They can also help us imagine a new future or remember a splendid piece of the past that we may have forgotten.

Can stories also praise? 

Recently, I had occasion to honor "the queen of Jewish storytelling," Peninnah Schram, with a story. Who would you praise with a story?

I invite you to post your praise stories as comments to this article!