Education Department and University Museums Debut Story Walk Outside Persson Hall

Located outside of Persson Hall, ten outdoor reading stations have created a “Story Walk” that tells “The Legend of How the Bear Lost His Tail,” a new Oneida language-learning children’s book based on a Haudenosaunee legend that has been passed down for generations. The story walk is the result of a partnership between the Oneida Indian Nation, Colgate University’s Teacher Education Program, the Longyear Museum of Anthropology and the Picker Art Gallery.

According to Meg Gardner, director of the Teacher Education Program, the Story Walk was set up in multiple locations across Madison County before coming to campus, including Brookfield Central School, the Utica Zoo and the Shako:wi Cultural Center.

Colgate University acquired publication rites from the Oneida Indian Nation to depict the legend through the Story Walk, which aims to highlight literature from the Oneida Nation and feature its language, Onyota’a:ká.

First-year Sylvia Guo commented on the colorful images that accompany the story. 

“The illustrated pictures in these boards are so appealing that it makes people want to stop and read it carefully,” said Guo. “The little heads of the bear and fox definitely make it funnier and clearer to read.”

Readers can also listen to the story — which is meant to be enjoyed by different ages and literacy levels — read aloud in either English or Oneida on YouTube.

First-year Zainab Bashir said she enjoyed reading the story. 

“Not only is the story engaging and interesting, but the colorful illustrations add to its allure,” Bashir said. 

The series of books that contains “The Legend of How the Bear Lost His Tail” is contained was produced in collaboration with the Madison-Oneida Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES), which together have sought to create opportunities for continued learning available to the community at large, according to Colgate University.

The Story Walk aids in providing an accumulation of cultural knowledge for grade-school students and college students alike. Colgate students have been given the opportunity to immerse themselves in something that may be unfamiliar to them, and to appreciate the history of the area more deeply than before.