October 27th, 2014 Last Updated on: October 27th, 2014
— Dr Dawn Karima, PhD, Native American Culture Editor
Ravenspeaker is the stage name for Robert Frederiksen an Alaskan Tsimshian storyteller of the Raven Clan. He was born and raised in Seattle, Washington and has traveled all over North America as a recognized Culture Bearer for the Northwest Coast's First Peoples. He focuses on Native Storytelling, Choreography and Cultural Events Planning.
He began storytelling by accident as a teenager when a group of dancers needed someone to fill time on stage between sets. Although considered very young at the time he proved worthy of the honor by crafting a spell binding version of the Culture's most famous legend ‘The Box of Daylight'. He very quickly found himself in demand as a stand alone performer and brought his talents to conventions, businesses, festivals and other gatherings all over the Pacific Northwest.
With his obvious stage presence he was offered roles in such films and Television Programs as “The Spirit of the Eagle”, “The Creative Native” and even appeared in several local theater productions. To this day Ravenspeaker is one of two featured storytellers in the Burke Museum's storytelling exhibit.
Ravenspeaker has created songs and dances for some of the Northwest Coast's most well known Native Dance troupes. Most notably he was one of the founders of Tsimshian Hayuuk, created and directed the Children of the Mist Youth Dance Team and helped organize Lugulm Goodm of Vancouver BC. His proudest achievement in this medium was the fusion of ballet and traditional Northwest Coast Indian Dance in “Seattle's Fantastic Shoppe” with the late John Wilkins of the Olympic Ballet Theater.
Ravenspeaker assisted in the planning of several Potlatches in Washington, Alaska and Canada. He took the lead in organizing Potlatches for the Muckelshoot Tribal School and for Indian Heritage High School.
He also created the Northwest Coast cultural component of the Seattle Aquarium's Salmon Homecoming Celebration and ran that event for several years from 1996 through 2001.
His ceremonial name is Ma'alsgm Gaak (Raven Narrates). He has one son, Jade, of the Eagle Clan (Most Northwest Coast Natives reckon lineage through the maternal line) who is learning storytelling and dance at the tender age of ten and is also available for certain venues.
Ravenspeaker can be contacted at 425.329.9830 or by email at [email protected] for information about his talents and about the movement he has founded, “Natives Rising.” “There are problems facing Indian Country that can not be solved from the outside, ” Ravenspeaker explains,”There is no political party, religious order or pile of cash that will do anything to change the lives of countless millions of Native Peoples in the way our Creator intended. Only we, working together in unity, can do what is needed to bring hope to the hopeless, happiness to the downtrodden and honor to our lives.”
Ravenspeaker has a vision for empowering Native Americans through www.nativesrising.org. “Everything Natives Rising does promotes either personal growth or a stronger community,” this Native leader muses,” We call this The Rise because only by lifting our spirits can we raise our potential.” Further, he believes that ” The Rise is not a spectator sport and we ask you to join this fast growing movement to bring permanent and effective change to our people. Our Creator did not create the First People to be at the bottom of society's pile.” Ravenspeaker plans to improve conditions for Native People in a multitude of ways.
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