DANSVILLE — The Dansville Area Historical Society hosted Native American Storytelling on June 7.
Stanley “Stosh” Kawczynski known as “The Seeker” told Iroquois Nation stories in the North Dansville Town Hall. Kawczynski has been doing “The Seeker Circle” for 25 years now.
“I have always been interested in Native American History,” he said. “It is important to carry on the stories and keep them alive.”
Kawczynski gave some history of the six nations, storytelling, and customs of the local tribes.
“I represent the Seneca Nation storytelling and faith keeper. I have historic background working with artifacts in a museum for 30 years. I will talk about how the native communities talked with each other before written language.”
There were ancient stories told in petroglyphs to tell the whole story through pictures. This is how the tribes would communicate to future tribes settling in the area.
Expressive Art made “The Seeker” an artistic design that Kawczynski explained in the program.
“The Seeker represents me. The tree of peace talks about the nations coming together. They had to get all the chiefs together to sign a peace treaty,” he said. “They buried the hatchet under the peace tree. The eagle is the watcher, and a very sacred bird.”
The Wampum was used to tell stories as well, and usually a chief would be chosen to tell the stories. They would tell the story of tribes and friendship in the Wampum.
Kawczynski told two stories using the art of pictographs “Seven Dancers” and “The Giant Mosquito” are favorites. These stories were told to explain things happening in the world such as the stars in the sky or mosquitos drinking human blood.
Kawczynski talked about how they kept track of time using a turtle. They would work with 28 days, and 13 months on the back of a turtle shell. The 13 months represented the full moons that would be used for certain celebrations in the tribes; Maple Moon, Corn Moon, Harvest Moon, and so on. The nations would also work on different clothing for the clans such as bear, wolf, snipe, turtle, beaver, hare, hawk, and deer.
There were oral stories told about the act of friendship, anti-bullying, and how you should not trust the Little People.
Kawczynski ended by talking about the false face masks, and how they have recently been taken out of the museums for sacred reasons. These masks would tell stories about the native spirits.