Humans have been sharing their stories forever. Although we now think of storysharing as an element of public history, the practice is a descendant of thousands of years of oral traditions in many societies and cultures. In fact, storysharing is a deep form of community engagement, as argued by Ru-Jün Zhou in a Memria blogpost.
This week, I'm in the Adirondacks, a place rich with history since before the Iroquois, Mahican, Mohawk, and Oneida peoples were displaced here, starting with the first waves of settlers hundreds of years ago. As the Haudenosaunee Confederacy website puts it, “Storytelling is an essential part of Haudenosaunee culture. It isn’t just about telling stories, it’s a positive way to teach the beliefs and values the Haudenosaunee hold. Through each story, the listener can learn the values, laws and acceptable behaviors of a community without having them simply listed off as rules”.
In telling the stories of place, we connect to the lived experiences of those who built them. If you want to explore the history of the Adirondacks, check out the North Elba Narratives project, the ADK Voices project, and the Adirondack Community project, to learn about this beautiful place, past and present. We have been pleased to work with all of these communities and with the amazing Jery Huntley at OurStoryBridge.
Wherever you are this week, there are public history projects to help you connect to the place, learn about its people, and share in its stories