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Native American Studies program to host Anishinabe storyteller July 18

The Native American Studies program at West Virginia University and the Morgantown Board of Parks and Recreation Summer Arts in the Park Program are co-sponsoring a visit by Michigan storyteller, Panoka Walker (French and Anishinabe (Ojibwe) descent, Deer Clan.) 

Panoka Walker

Her hands-on storytelling and musical presentation will kick off the 2016 Arts in the Park summer camp directed by BOPARC Arts Coordinator Deborah Palmer. Walker will also meet with children enrolled in the Shack Neighborhood House summer camp. Her public performance at the Morgantown Public Library is Monday, July 18 from 2-3 p.m. The library event is free and open to children of all ages. 

“Our WVU Native American Studies students saw Walker perform at a cultural event in Ann Arbor, Michigan, this past spring. They were delighted with the way she engages her audience and teaches lessons through song, drum, stories, and invites children to help act out various traditional tales. We’re very pleased to offer her talents to nearly 200 Morgantown-area children this summer,” said Bonnie M. Brown, WVU Native American Studies program coordinator.

Palmer said Walker’s contribution is integral to this summer’s Arts in the Park curriculum, “Ten years ago our summer camp student artists joined forces with local adult artists, volunteers, and Philadelphia muralist Isaiah Zagar to create a 50-foot-long outdoor mosaic mural, “The Spirit Wall,” at Dorsey's Knob Park. The mural included deer, turtles, and other images inspired by Native American stories and beliefs. Sadly, the wall since suffered irreparable water damage and was dismantled. This year efforts have begun to replace the wall with close attention to the original inspiration and design. Arts in the Park 2016 will have an overall focus on the Native American culture of our region with portions of the new mural created by child artists. The mural reconstruction is a community effort to be completed during over next year.”

In addition to Palmer and Walker, faculty for the camp include artists Sonda Cheesebrough and Irma Barazzone, dancer Angela Dennis, musician Chanler Bailey, and writer Colleen Anderson.

For more information contact Bonnie Brown at or 304-293-4626.