Arts Integration Project

Storytelling with Dan Nanamkin

Dan Nanamkin

Educator & Traditional Storyteller, Director of Young Warrior Society

Dan Nanamkin (Thunder & Lightning) grew up on the Colville Indian Reservation. During his upbringing he experienced great blessings in storytelling, language, spiritual teachings, ceremonies and traditional songs and knowledge passed to him from a very early age by his elders.

Through his adult life he has served the youth and communities as a community events director, prevention programs coordinator, cultural educator, health and wellness instructor and through selfless community service.

He now travels across the nation where he is called to speak toward environmental/social justice, humanity, youth empowerment, diversity, and to create bridges of healing and unity. He brings a unique personality and perspective and shares knowledge to all walks of life through appearances on television, feature films, music recordings, documentaries, news, art, social media and will soon publish his first book.

He has just successfully passed the Washington state teachers artist training lab and will create a wide variety of empowering and inspirational workshops and educational videos. He is the director for a community group effort called The Young Warrior Society which provides community outreach and school presentations based on indigenous-led land based education.

Part 1 – Introduction

Meet Dan Nanamkin is from the Colville Confederated Tribes and lives in Nespelem, Washington. Dan shares his culture through storytelling, music and dance.

Part 2 – What inspires you to share your work?

Dan talks about his experiences as a teacher at the Paschal Sherman Indian School and seeing how students have lost their cultural identity have inspired him to share the cultural wisdom and teachings with young people.

Part 3 – Seasons, the Stars and Subsistence

Dan shares how ancestors used the stars, seasons, and general awareness of the natural world to thrive. He also talks about how sharing the stories of his culture can bring hope to a variety of different people.

Part 4 – Connection to the World: Plants, Health, Medicine, Healing

Dan shares how his culture connects to the world through nature to benefit health, medicine and healing. He also discusses how modern industrialization has impacted the land and traditions.

Part 5 – Blessings

Dan talks about the variety of ways he is able to share his story and culture with the world whether it be through speaking engagements, music, or movies. He dives deeper into his own experiences and how he has gotten to where he is today.

Part 6 – Demo: Playing the Flute

Share this video with your students to introduce them to Dan and traditional indigenous music.

Part 7 – Standing Rock

Dan shares his experience and stories from his time at Standing Rock, including a story about healing and unity.

The NCESD Early Learning team has prepared a lesson plan for you to use in your classroom that was inspired by Dan’s work. You can view the document below or click the “pop out” button in the top right corner to open it in a new tab to download the PDF file.

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