Open a StoryBox: Project seeks to preserve stories |

Open a StoryBox: Project seeks to preserve stories

Photos providedPaiute language specialist Ralph Burns, bottom, will tell a story before adding it to the StoryBox, which will continue on its year-long journey around the world.

A global project designed to unite people through the art of storytelling is visiting Carson City this weekend.

The StoryBox Project, launched by Kevin Cordi, a storyteller-in-residence at the Ohio State University’s Multicultural Center, is an effort to collect and send stories around the world like an ever-growing message in a bottle.

On Dec. 12, the box will make a stop at the Stewart Indian School where four local Native American storytellers, known as Story Ambassadors, will share their stories as well as read a few stories found in the traveling box.

“Everyone has a story, a different story,” said Wishelle Banks, a Reno-based writer, producer and third-generation Anishabe storyteller, who is the designated StoryBox Keeper. “But when you weave them together there is a tangible feeling of unity.”

Banks will be joined at the event by Ben Aleck, collections manager and Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribal historian and Ralph Burns, Paiute language specialist, both from the Pyramid Lake Paiute Museum and Visitors Center, and by Christina Thomas, a Paiute-Shoshone and Hopi traditional drummer and singer, who will each tell their story before placing it in the box.

“I’m going to tell a story I’ve been telling for years,” said Banks. “It happened 10 years ago. It was my last visit with my grandfather. It’s a beautiful, slightly bittersweet story.”

Banks said she went to see her grandfather in Texas, who was dying, to deliver to him a golden eagle feather for his journey after death.

“It opened up all these memories inside him that he hadn’t ever shared, even with his spouse of 41 years,” said Banks.

Banks may hold another StoryBox event in Reno on Dec. 19 before the box moves on to its next destination.

“Since it’s close to Christmas I’ve selected a theme,” said Banks. “What’s the greatest gift you’ve ever received? For me, it’s inspiration.”

She said she hopes to use the event to inspire children to cherish their grandparents and to listen to and record their elders’ stories.

The box, which started in Switzerland, moved to Ireland, and then to Kentucky, was recently delivered to Banks from the Mariposa Arts Council in California.

Next, the box will go to Emire Stitt, a Story Keeper in Henderson, who will hold a similar event. From there it travels to the Hispanic Museum in Las Vegas, then to Tucson and finally back to the Ohio State University.

“The global message (of the StoryBox Project) is loud and clear,” said Banks. “Preserve your stories.”

The StoryBox Project is co-sponsored by the Nevada Arts Council and the Nevada Indian Commission.

If You Go

What: The StoryBox Project storytelling event

Where: Stewart Indian School, Administration Building #3, off Snyder Avenue

When: Dec. 12, 2-4 p.m.

Cost: Free

Details: For more information visit the projects Web site at or the Nevada Department of Cultural Affairs Web site at