MSAB Art’s Learning grant Tells Ojibwe Star Stories

Posted by | Filed under South Ridge | May 24, 2016 | No Comments

Perfoamnce2Perfoamnce3 Perfoamnce5Perfoamnce4 South Ridge 3rd-4th and 7th  grade students worked with teaching artists from Frank Theatre (Mpls.) Wendy Knox and Emily Zimmer in retelling Ojibwe Star Stories. Artist and storyteller Carl Gawboy met with the students and retold the stories told to him as a young person by his father. These stories are based in our understanding of the seasonal changes we live by in northern Minnesota.

“Shigebiss and the Winter Maker”, “Fisher Freeing the Birds from Skyland”, “Creation Story” and  “How the Bat Came to Be” all were retold by students using the theatrical freeze frame.One performance in the Fall and Spring brought families and community members out.

Simple narration by students carried the actors through their plays. Backdrops were painted by the students in art class creating scenery and tone. As always the students did a beautiful job! The stories have come back to our lives and teach us of the seasonal changes, how to prepare for the future seasons and weather and how to care for each other.

Teaching artists Wendy Knox and Emily Zimmer again were amazing to work with. They brought life skills to the students along with theatre experience. Skills learned include learning to speak in front of others, focus and clarity in speaking – being present in the moment – being comfortable with your self enough to be courageous to do something needed that may be challenging – like standing in front of 300 people!

Musician Marya Hart wrote original musical scores withe the students which they performed in their plays. Students wrote, worked in small groups, critiqued and reworked their stories until they were satisfied and prepares to share them with family and friends.

To see the Fall performance go to

To see the Spring performance go to

Hear Carl Gawboy retell the story of “Shigebiss and the Wintermaker”, “Creation Story (The Great Flood)”, “How Fisher Went to Skyland and Freed the Birds”.

VTS_03_1 Carl Gawboy Shingebis and the Wintermaker from SouthRidgeART on Vimeo.

VTS_02_1 The Great Flood from SouthRidgeART on Vimeo.

VTS_04_1 Carl Gawboy Fisher Saves the Birds from Skyland from Media Art on Vimeo.

 Special thanks to those who have supported us throughout the work. They include the Minnesota State Arts Board, Land and Legacy Trust Fund of Minnesota, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Northland Foundation, Northland Learning center, Minnesota Power, the Fond du Lac Reservation, ISD 2142 American Indian Student Services, ISD 2142 South Ridge School – teachers and staff.

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