Denise Miller, Storyteller
Denise Miller is an international Métis storytelling artist who has spent time as an award-winning local, national, and international journalist, and produced a weekly radio program about the Elders she met on her storytelling journeys. She’s told stories to thousands of students in hundreds of schools, on several continents, floating on cruise ship, white water raft, and voyageur canoe, around a campfire, on a horse drawn wagon, and on trains across the Rocky Mountains.
In this interactive hour share the native perspective the traditional way - through story and drum.
Denise begins with a drum song and engaging information about Canadian Aboriginal people and her own Metis ancestry. Students love to participate in the conversation and stories, and to join in the singing.
Coyote and other tricksters from here and there come and go in this edu-taining hour.
Denise makes storytelling a time of adventure and fun, after all she has been working with story and youth of all ages from K to Post Secondary - for over 25 years!
This is the perfect choice for audiences that include diverse cultural and educational needs; storytelling works!
If you would like to start a tour in your area to save with shared travel costs just let me know and I'll get the ball rolling!
Workshops and Residencies for Youth
To learn to read and write students must develop a good oral language base, yet the skills involved in talking and listening are rarely taught. These skills are an inherent part of storytelling.
The students will develop fluency and confidence in their oral language abilities. They will also learn active and attentive listening skills and visual communication skills. Public speaking skills at an appropriate level will be focused upon.
'My people will sleep for one hundred years, but when they awake,
it will be the artists who give them their spirit back.'
- Louis Riel, July 4, 1885
Community Elder / Youth Storytelling Project
This is a great project for communities with a rich cultural background and who want to engage the youth and the Elders. Storytelling is a natural communication tool that we all can benefit from.
One example is that the chosen Elder is partnered with a youth who agrees to learn a story. Together they present the story in the Native language and then also a translated version.
The stories could be recorded onto DVD, compact disc (CD) and also prepared for printing. This book, DVD, and CD set could develop into a historical resource for the community and they could also be used for fund-raising purposes for the school or community.
A storytelling project like this can go on year after year and become a really valuable addition to not only the community, but the culture at large. If these stories aren’t preserved now, it may soon be too late.
I will be happy to help your community create your version of this traditional generational project!
"Thank you so much for coming to tell stories at our school! The children talked about you and your stories for days after. All of the staff commented on how well you managed the children while telling a great story and wonderful information about our First Nations, Metis and Inuit friends. Thanks again!"
"Denise Miller, was excellent. Her story mesmerized the children. They were listening so intently that they laughed out loud, jumped in their seats and their young faces showed the variety of emotions they felt as the story progressed. Ms. Miller had excellent classroom management and pacing skills that kept her young audience completely enthralled with her story.
We all appreciated how she shared the history of her family and her explanations to the children of the terms; First Nations, Metis, Inuit in a way that they could understand. How she taught how some First Nations got their names and the meanings of those names. A great way for our kids to expand their knowledge about these important groups in our Canadian society.
The children loved how Ms. Miller incorporated her drum and her songs into the story. They were quite fascinated with her drum, its importance in her culture and history.
We would recommend Ms. Miller to everyone. She was flexible and accommodating. She had great presence during her presentation and the children didn’t want to the story to end. They loved it!"
"Denise Miller, was excellent. She was very good with the students and was able to adjust to each class and situation easily. She made each presentation specific to the different ages of her audience. Denise connected well to the students and had great class management skills, as well as telling riveting stories. She engaged the students and made them think about the stories as they were being entertained. It was great to have an interactive storytelling session and she worked with the older students on storytelling strategies. She helped the students think differently about storytelling and the teachers were able to learn along with them."
"It always says so much about a presenter when you see 50 pairs of junior-high eyes attentively following your every step, your every movement...attentively listening. Thank you for helping us with the process of reconnecting story and voice."
"Thank you for sharing your storytelling talents with our grade 4,5, and 6 students. You gave them a unique experience in an art form that flows, for a special way of connecting with one another. Your drumming and singing will not soon be forgotten!"
"I have heard so many positive comments from the staff and students and wanted to pass along the fact that your visit was enjoyed by all. Your time here will no doubt be one of the highlights of our school year."
"Awesome! Entertaining and she had great control of the students - a very good storyteller!"
"Denise was great with the students, told stories and explained concepts at their level and kept within the time frame alotted. This was an excellent presentation!"
"Timely - was great for the LA and Social units being studied."
"Very engaging and enthusiastic. Denise managed the children very well when they got rowdy - she got our students excited about storytelling!"
" The passion and excitement generated was immense with our high school students singing along to Windayaho - it was really heartening to hear my students humming it days later. Denise held her audience in such rapt suspense that I had to step in and remind them to leave after the bell had rung."
Story-telling and story-listening bond us in a way that builds connection, relationship, inclusion and community. Stories connect us to each other, to nature, to our ancestors and descendants, to the present, the past and the magic of imagination. Stories hold the keys for opening us up to our potential, to what's possible. Once we open, we can begin to base our lives from a much larger pool of possibilities and direct a life that's more of our own choosing.
Stories have the power to up-lift, heal, teach, educate, and empower. That is why people keep telling and listening to them – because certain stories make a particularly painful part of them feel seen, heard, accepted, and understood. They could then begin to get the first glimmers of the idea that there might be a good life out there for them if they just stay open to possibilities. Critically, it was important that help could come from unimaginable places – even magical places – because for many children the reality is that they see no possibility of any help coming from anywhere.
In the realm of story there is endless potential and opportunity to see life in a different way; to confront things we once thought of as true – or false. This is a realm with a deep place in spirit – and it holds a great power for spiritual healing and awakening. It is a place that acknowledges that we are all on an individual journey as well as a collective, archetypal one.
As a storyteller I invoke the powers of the sacred hoop, the circle of life – the medicine wheel. I am that voice of nature, the trickster, the hero, the wizard, the youth or crone. I am the opposites. I tell my story and I tell your story because in this archetypal place together we identify with everything – in our own way. The stories cross all boundaries of difference and bring us together in ways that are truly common, and truly human.