Last fall, Harvest Moon, Quinault Indian Nation Ambassador, came to the library at Shoalwater Bay to tell stories. She began by setting an assortment of baskets, rattles, and rocks on a table. To this she added a book, Where Bigfoot Walks, by Robert Michael Pyle. She talked about getting cast as a storyteller in the soon-to-be-released film version of the book, saying that even though she had to miss a day of bark-pulling (she is a renowned basket maker) it was worth it.

Harvest uses her entire body to tell a story; facial expressions, voice, and gestures bring characters to life. Adding to this are the props she picks up from the nearby table; rattles that sound like the rustling of leaves, or objects such as a tiny canoe that draw us deeper into the action.

“Stories can teach morals, they can entertain.”

In “No Ears”, a cautionary tale about the importance of listening, the storyteller mimics characters taking selfies and scrolling on their phones, transforming an ancient story into a tale of today. We followed the exploits of a bratty girl called “No Ears” who refuses to listen to anyone, and as a result is shunned by her people, which turn her into a spiteful monster.

Stories As Property

Harvest Moon, has been a storyteller for 34 years.In the native world,one needs permission to tell another’s story. Some of the stories Harvest tells were given to her; others are her own. An elder now,she happily tells us “there’s a new generation of storytellers emerging.”
Harvest Moon, aka Stephanie Cultee, is the niece of Eugene Landry. How fitting that the library where she told stories is located on the former site of Gene’s studio. She was very happy to learn about the upcoming exhibit of her Uncle’s Gene’s art in late May 2020.

Harvest Moon (center) with Dawn Michelle Wilson (L) and her daughter, Kris Torset, Shoalwater Bay Museum’s Cultural Specialist.
After the storytelling, attendees learned to make corn-husk dolls.
Heritage Museum wood carving display, created during the People of the Adze program by Head Carver Earl Davis and his apprentices Kenny Waltman and Brandt Ellingburg. 2019 photo by Marcy Merrill.