Events Calendar

The Power of Storytelling and Traditional Ecological Knowledge

At a Glance

Thursday, November 21
7:00 PM
Speaker: Mary Louise Defender-Wilson, Fall 2019 UW-Madison Elder-in-Residence

Lake Mendota Room
Dejope Hall



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Emily Reynolds
(608) 265-2564

Mary Louise (Wagmuhawin meaning "Gourd Woman”) is a nationally renowned traditional Dakotah/Hidatsa elder, storyteller and traditionalist enrolled at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation of North Dakota. Born on October 14, 1930, and delivered by her midwife grandmother, Mary Louise grew up in a small house with her mother, three older brothers, her grandfather and her great-aunt. Not only were Mary Louise's mother, grandmother and great-grandmother midwives, they were also skilled storytellers. It is these people and others from whom Mary Louise learned traditional stories.

She has been honored for her artistry with:

A National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Award
The Bush Foundation’s Bush Artist Fellowship and Enduring Vision Award
Multiple Native American Music Awards Best-Spoken Word recognitions
The Jennifer Easton Community Spirit Award from the First People’s Fund
The H. Councill Trenholm Memorial Award for Human and Civil Rights from the National Education Association
The USA Fellows Artist Fellowship
The UW-Madison Elder-in-Residence program is sponsored by generous donations to the UW-Madison Native Nations Partnership Fund.

American Indian Studies at UW-Madison
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