Claremore Daily Progress

November 24, 2013

Keeping the stories Alive

Cherokee grandmother passes on culture, heritage by sharing Native American stories

Randy Cowling


Mary Clarkson is a story keeper.
As an elementary school teacher in Broken Arrow, annually she looked forward to teaching her students about Native American culture.
Clarkson and her 4-year-old granddaughter Adelyn Ray worked together Thursday morning, telling students Native American stories at Stepping Stone Learning Center.
“I want to pass along our culture and traditions,” Clarkson said.
She and her granddaughter shared Baby Rattlesnake by Lynn Moroney and Ata Te, and The Story of the Milky Way by Joseph Bruchac and Gayle Ross.
“We want to keep the stories alive by sharing them,” Clarkson said.
Students listened intently to the stories and Clarkson included participation with the students joining in the story with sounds and instruments.
Clarkson is also teaching her granddaughter to speak the Cherokee language.
“I like the stories. We are telling my favorite today — the Story of the Milky Way,” said young Adelyn. “I know words for animals and colors.”
Clarkson hopes by telling students and her granddaughter Native American stories, Native American language and culture can be handed down to the next generation.
“I hope someday my granddaughter will tell these stories to her children,” Clarkson said.