Anne Jennison is a New Hampshire-based Native American storyteller, historian, educator, and craftsperson with both European and Abenaki heritage. With Master’s degrees in both Storytelling and in History, Anne brings a wealth of knowledge - polished by more than 30 years of experience as a performing storyteller - to her retelling of timeless Native American lesson stories, especially the stories of the Northeast.
Prior to retiring from teaching, Anne taught American History, World History, Cultural Anthropology, Storytelling, and Native American Studies courses for 20 years - at both the high school and college level. Since retiring from classroom teaching, Anne is still an active public educator. She tells Native American stories and teaches Abenaki History and Culture through her appearances at schools, colleges, powwows, museums, historical societies, and libraries. Additionally, Anne give demonsrations of Indigenous crafts such as beadwork and birch bark basket making. She also teaches traditional Abenaki crafts workshops and gives storytelling performances at Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth, NH, the Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum in Warner, NH, and other venues throughout New England. Anne is also a co-producer of the annual Dawnland StoryFest - New England's only Native American Storytelling Festival – which takes place on the first Saturday in February every year.
From May – December, in addition to giving storytelling performances at a variety of venues, Anne spends a few days a week at the Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth, NH, where she is helping the museum develop an Abenaki history and culture interpretation program through an exhibit called “The People of the Dawnland”. While at the museum, Anne interacts with visitors from around the world and teaches them about the Indigenous people of New Hampshire and the Northeast, while giving demonstrations of various Abenaki crafts, such as traditional basketry using materials like coiled sweet grass or coiled cornhusk, as well as white birch bark. Anne also demonstrates cornhusk doll making and Abenaki raised beadwork while teaching museum visitors about the Abenaki peoples - from their ancient past to the current issues affecting contemporary Abenaki people.
Anne believes that our world is filled with thousands of rich cultures, all of which have given birth to their own unique collections of folklore and oral traditions. However, as a professional storyteller Anne chooses to tell primarily the Native American lesson stories that reflect the Abenaki part of her heritage. Anne explains it this way:
“Stories from all traditions share the wonder of life and great gifts of humor and wisdom, but for their gentle yet critically important lessons of life, Native American lesson stories are my favorite to tell. I first began learning Northeast Woodlands stories when my daughters were quite young, to teach them about their Abenaki and Mohawk heritage. And, although I mostly tell Indigenous Northeast Woodlands stories, over the years I have expanded my repertoire to include stories from a few other places on Turtle Island”.
One of Anne's ongoing professional goals is to share Northeastern Native American lesson stories and traditional crafts in ways that are culturally accurate, engaging, and warmly entertaining.