The Story of Leadership & The Wisdom of the Wolf

GC Shrine Sunny Dooley event poster 28 March 2023Join us for an evening of traditional Diné/Navajo storytelling that positively portrays the wolf and their leadership in nature to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the first releases of Mexican gray wolves back into the wild in the southwest.

Tuesday, March 28, 2023
7:00 - 8:30 pm MST/AZ time
Shrine of the Ages Auditorium

Grand Canyon National Park
Free event with park admission

The Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery Project will host a special event featuring the traditional Diné/Navajo winter story about leadership and the wisdom of the wolf (Mai Tso) told by storyteller and folklorist Sunny Dooley at the Shrine of the Ages auditorium at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon on Tuesday, March 28, 2023, at 7 pm. Appropriate for all ages, this Navajo tale shares culturally grounded lessons of leadership and demonstrates that nature is a powerful teacher for humankind. This event is free and open to the public with Grand Canyon National Park admission.

Sunny Dooley, a well-known and gifted Diné/Navajo storyteller, will tell the story in English, unfolding in rich and entertaining detail how two mammals, two birds, and an instigator insect changed the world by bringing integrity to leadership and a voice to all the people.

March 29, 2023, marks the 25th anniversary of the first release of endangered Mexican gray wolves back into the wild in Arizona. While no known wolves live around the Grand Canyon, it was once a part of their historic habitat in the southwest and is an important place that provides suitable habitat for their eventual return. As of the last official population count for the end of 2022, there are 241 Mexican gray wolves in the wilds of Arizona and New Mexico today. According to Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery Project’s Executive Director Emily Renn, the 25th anniversary of the reintroduction program and a wolf population having gone from zero to now over 200 individuals in the wild are major milestones worth celebrating. She says, “We’re excited to hear Sunny share this positive traditional tale, reminding us of the important role of wolves, and evoking their presence in the places they are returning, both on the landscape and in our lives.”

Sunny Dooley is a traditional storyteller who has been telling Navajo stories for 30 years. She works as a storyteller, folklorist and cultural consultant – collecting, learning and retelling the oral tradition of the Navajo Blessingway stories. These stories present the worldview of the Diné people and details their relationship with their surroundings. She has retold these stories by oral tradition in Navajo and in English for a variety of organizations, universities, schools and conferences throughout the US, Canada, Africa, Europe and Mexico including the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian, and the Denver Arts Museum, and the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture. Among her many accomplishments include winning the 1982 Miss Navajo pageant. She was the Olive B. O'Connor Distinguished Visiting Professor of Literature and Storyteller-in-Residence at Colgate University and one of nine women, and the only Native storyteller, selected for the Women’s Chautauqua Institute. In 2006, she received the Navajos Making a Difference Award at the annual Navajo Studies conference. She founded the Hané Storytelling Festival for indigenous storytellers and has been featured in several documentaries. In 2013, she was the Runy International Scholar at Robert Morris University.