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Arts & Life

Campfire Stories: “Counting coup” and a warrior’s unbreakable pride

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Emma Winowiecki
/
Michigan Radio

Many cultures use storytelling as a way to pass down their history and heritage.

Native American cultures are known for their rich oral traditions. So here's one to consider. 

Have you heard of the term counting coup?

Our storyteller Colin Wesaw tells us that counting coup was an act of bravery in the face of an enemy.

“A long time ago, the warriors would ride up in battle. Instead of killing you, they would take a short stick and they would touch you, and they would 'count coup.' And that’s showing you how brave they are. They just touch you with that stick and ride off.”

Wesaw says he likes to tell the stories that "carry values in life" and "to bring it back to our people."

Colin Wesaw is a tribal elder leader with the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi and was recently elected to be the elders' representative for the tribal council.

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