Published on March 4, 2014 by Amy
The oral tradition is very important to Native American cultures. Jewelry and pottery-making techniques are passed down from generation to generation by word of mouth from master to apprentice. Storytelling is often used as a teaching tool to instill the young generation with traditional cultural values and beliefs.
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The importance of the oral tradition is evident in Native American storyteller figurines.
Storyteller dolls are a relatively new form of pottery art. The first storyteller figurine was crafted by Cochiti Pueblo potter Helen Cordero in 1963. The doll represented her grandfather telling her old Native American Indian tales.
The first storyteller doll was a male figure, but today, storytellers are also female and sometimes clowns or animals. Male figurines are often identified by a hat or bandana.
Although some storyteller dolls are individual figures, most Native American Indian storyteller figurines are joined by at least one listener—a child or an animal, sometimes both.