Speaker Extolls the Power of Stories to Create Change

Berkshire welcomed attorney, author, and storyteller Gyasi Ross to all-school meeting on Nov. 6. Ross comes from the Blackfeet Nation and resides on the Port Madison Indian Reservation near Seattle.

Sought-after by the media for his opinion on politics, sports, pop culture, and their intersections with Native life, Ross shared his story with the school community, met with students over lunch, and worked with classes throughout the day.

"I come from a family of storytellers," said Ross. "My family tells long stories, drinking coffee and blowing smoke in your face. It just fit for me to tell stories, and then I started writing them."

At the end of the academic day, Ross held a workshop for three classes: third formers in Modern World History, and fifth and sixth formers in Creative Writing and Global Leadership Studies. Ross extolled storytelling as, "the most powerful tool in the world."

In Ross's view, the ability to tell a story well--to articulate one's passions and ideals--is a skill that will stay with students forever and help them in all areas of life. More broadly, Ross explained how our nation's history is made up of individual stories, and that young people have the power to change the stories we tell as a country, and in turn, make a difference in the world.

LeRhonda Greats, Berkshire's dean of diversity and inclusion, first heard Ross speak at the NAIS People of Color Conference in Tampa, Fla. in 2016. "I wanted our community to hear from a young Native American who is educated and using his privilege to help his people," said Greats.

"I hope his visit demonstrated love and unity and hope," Greats continued. "He is laying responsibility at the feet of all young people and telling them that they can and will make this country better."