Bio/Press Release (updated 12/16/09)
A member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, Greg is a writer, storyteller, workshop presenter, and oral historian. For nearly four years now, he has performed in front of hundreds of audiences, sharing stories designed to both entertain and educate. Greg's storytelling began professionally, years ago, under the mentorship of noted Choctaw storyteller and author Tim Tingle. From there, the writing progressed naturally under the same guidance. And continued further, while completing a degree in Native American Studies at the University of Oklahoma, with recognizable names such as Geary Hobson, Clara Sue Kidwell, Barbara Hobson, Jerry Bread, Rilla Askew, N. Scott Momaday, and Gus Palmer, Jr.
In July of 2009, Rodgers was honored with an invitation to participate as a workshop presenter for the Young Native Writers Essay Contest winners at the Smithsonian Institute's National Museum of the American Indian. Last November, the Smithsonian Institute again called and asked Greg to participate in their outreach program. He was invited to Casper, Wyoiming where he performed in area schools and The Trail Center. Upon receiving great reviews, Greg has since been added to the program's list as an official Smithsonian Associate He has also guest-lectured and performed at such universities as Rice, Southeastern Oklahoma State University, Oklahoma University, Southwestern Oklahoma State University, Wayne State University in Nebraska, and Southern Nazarene University in Bethany, Oklahoma.
Greg’s short story, "Harriet's Burden," is included in the 2006 Nov/Dec special Native American issue of Storytelling Magazine, the membership publication of the National Storytelling Network. This story is the first in a series of short stories based on family remembrances. An accomplished Native American flute player, Rodgers has performed and presented workshops at schools, libraries, and tribal events throughout Oklahoma. He has performed stories in front of diverse audiences, including the Choctaw Nation Storytelling Festival, held annually in McAlester, Oklahoma, and the 2006 Okla Chahta Gathering in Bakersfield, California. He is a descendant of Reverend Israel Folsom, a co-author of the first Choctaw dictionary and prominent Choctaw leader in both Mississippi and Oklahoma during the 1800’s.
In June of 2009, Rodgers was a featured regional teller at the Spirit of Oklahoma Storytelling Festival. In March of 2008, he performed during the Native American Concert at the Texas Storytelling Festival in Denton, TX.
In between the writing, telling, and collecting of stories, Greg serves as a newly elected board member for both the Oklahoma Choctaw Tribal Alliance and Territory Tellers, the Oklahoma state storytelling organization. He is also a regional vice-president for the Folsom Family Association.
Greg’s storytelling repertory includes both traditional and contemporary Choctaw stories, family stories, and travel stories from the year he spent in Prague, Czech Republic teaching English as a Second Language.
The programs are designed to be age-appropriate and audience-minded. Over the summer of 2006, Rodgers completed a storytelling mentorship under the direction of professional Choctaw storyteller and author Tim Tingle, sponsored by the University of Oklahoma. In addition, he has studied the craft of storytelling with nationally respected and acclaimed Appalachian master storyteller Elizabeth Ellis. Greg’s performances are a public demonstration of his true passion, the collection and respectful preservation of his people’s memories----the foundation of the Choctaw oral narrative.
"I suppose I've always loved stories, written and told. Stories of family comings and goings, history, folktales, myths, and legends. We have a lot to learn from these stories - about ourselves and the world we live, work, and play in. Storytelling, in any medium, requires both art and craft. In the stories we can find hope, wisdom, unity, and new ways of understanding.
A great gift was given to me in the instruction of this art and craft, with the firm agreement that I, in turn, pass it along. It's where I'm supposed to be -- telling stories, writing stories, collecting stories, and doing my part in the forever-ization of Choctaw culture."
- Greg Rodgers (2007 Interview)