The art of storytelling at XIT Museum
By Robin Scott
More than 80 children and adults poured into the XIT Museum on Thursday, July 16th to enjoy storyteller Eldrena Douma. Douma is a Pueblo Indian from the tribes of the Laguna, Tewa and Hopi. She is a professional storyteller, author and workshop presenter.
The hour-long event was sponsored by Community Connect, Dalhart’s community education program headed by Sylvia Renick. Douma has thrilled Dalhart residents in the past, and she did again on the 16th. Stories included, “Now I know what the wind is,” a charming tale about Douma’s uncle, “Ants,” where the audience learned to sing a song in Douma’s native tongue, and a story of how Douma’s grandmother, her Siva, was both Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus.
Douma is the founder of the Storytellers of the High Plains. She resides in the Amarillo/Canyon area. Her travels take her to many places like Dalhart where she shares the history of her people through the art of storytelling. Douma received both her Bachelor of Science and Master’s Degree in Education from Eastern New Mexico University.
Storytelling is the manner in which history is both recorded and shared and a way for a community to connect with one another. Douma uses storytelling to stimulate the imagination of children and adults. When she tells a story her audience sits in silence, listening and picturing the vents she depicts. Each story has a point, and getting to the point is done through colorful imagery Douma describes and implants into the minds of attentive listeners.
Douma’s interest as a storyteller began when she was a young child growing up on both the Laguna and Hopi reservations. She listened to family members and tribal elders relay the history of the tribe. The stories were of survival as well as their way of life.
Douma brought the children at Thursday’s storytelling adventure handouts that will continue to inspire their creativity after the event concluded. One item was a Rain Bird that she asked the children to draw onto a blank pottery page. She brings those pages to continue the traditions of her great grandmother, Nampeyo and her contribution to the art of pottery.
Along with historical stories and folklore, Douma also develops her own stories, which continue the tradition of her heritage. She has become a favorite guest at the XIT Museum and will return again with more exciting stories to share.
For more information about Eldrena Douma, visit the web for numerous pages about the talented storyteller.