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Oregon Folklife: Our Living Traditions

by Joanne B. Mulcahy

Oregon Folklife: Our Living Traditions explores community-based arts and culture in the context of local history. In each region of the state, ethnic, religious, occupational, and recreational communities tell stories, create material arts, and participate in rituals and celebrations. Joanne Mulcahy, who directed the Oregon Folk Arts Program from 1988 to 1991, has conducted fieldwork throughout the state. She is the author of Birth and Rebirth on an Alaskan Island, which chronicles the life of an Alaska Native healer, and Remedios: The Healing Life of Eva Castellanoz. She teaches writing at the Northwest Writing Institute at Lewis and Clark College.

When we truly inhabit a place, we mark it with our traditions—our crafts, music, stories, food, and games, the ways we celebrate and mourn, and the ways we heal from psychic and physical pain. Each …

The word “tradition” comes from the Latin tradere, “to hand over, to deliver.” It may seem to imply a static, unchanging state, yet folklife and folk art forms are equally expressive of change. The human …

Aarne, Anti, and Stith Thompson. The Types of the Folktale: A Classification and Bibliography. Folklore Fellows Communication No. 180. Helsinki, Finland: Academic Scientarum Fennica, 1960.