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The Truth About Stories

Student Showcase

Every year, the Community Book Connection of CCBC chooses a book to focus on and creates a multitude of events for the students and community to learn about the subjects focused on in each book.  Beginning with a traditional Native oral story in The Truth About Stories, Thomas King weaves his way through literature and history, religion and politics, popular culture and social protest, gracefully elucidating North America’s relationship with its Native peoples.

The CBC put together a call for entries from the CCBC students for artwork of all disciplines that respond to this book. This student showcase celebrates those entries. 

If you'd like to learn more about the CBC and The Truth About Stories, click here to visit their website.

Breaking Gender Stereotypes 


Ermina Ayyaz

This painting represents my cultural identity and breaking gender stereotypes. Since Pakistan is a patriarchy society, it is common for men to work and it is expected for women to become stay at home mothers looking after their children, cooking, and doing household chores. Growing up in the U.S I experienced vice versa. For most of my life my dad was the one who took care of me and my brother while my mom was working a full time job for us. My dad did the chores, cleaning and most of the cooking. In this painting my dad is handing me tea in his cultural clothing while I am working on the computer.

Prof. Jessica Walton

ARTD 106 

Painting entitled Breaking Gender Stereotypes by Ayyaz.jpg
Digital Painting of military man entitled Personal Identity

Personal Identity

Digital Painting​

Terence Brady

I have never taken too much stock in my own personality. I am the offspring of an American, who was in the Air Force when I was born, and a Mauritian Immigrant. Because of my racial ambiguity, I have had decades of people asking me what I am, and it was always difficult to explain. As I've grown older, I have found it easier to describe myself through my experiences and acts. Even though I am proud of my heritage, I believe that trying to explain my personal identity, background and heritage are trivial tasks. I believe that what you've done and becoming the best version of yourself are the most important things in life. 

Prof. Jessica Walton

Art History II Honors



Jakeira Frost

My all time dream is to own a gallery. I want to create a comfortable space for creatives to come, display, and perform. My rendition for my identity project depicts young girls and their mom looking at a “self portrait” in a gallery setting. I think representation at this point in my life has become overwhelmingly important so all of the figures are essentially representing me in the different phases from girl to womanhood somewhat looking up to and admiring art and someone who looks like me. 

Prof. Jessica Walton

2D Design

Muse digital illustration by Jakeira Frost

Visual Narratives: Revising and Celebrating Identity

Mixed Media Painting and Drawing

Jasmine Griffin

Visual Narratives Revising and Celebrating Identity Mixed Media Artwork by Jasmine Griffin

In this Visual Narratives: Revising and Celebrating Identity project, I explored personal identity in this composition by celebrating my various complex personal identities – mainly through symbolism. I explore the idea of learning personal identity through the process of time. The left side of the composition is composed of braids in the pattern of a circuit board to represent the parts of my identity that have developed and solidified over time – the “programmed” parts of my identity. Some of these braids have a start and an end – representing the parts of my identity I have discovered, and will be a part of me forever. Some of the braids, however, continue on further and further to the right, and do not have an end. Instead, they begin to unravel in the abstract right-hand side of the composition. This section represents the unknown parts of my identity – the parts of myself I am still learning and will learn in the years to come.

Prof. Jessica Walton

ARTD 110 - Two-Dimensional Design

The World

Digital Painting 

Zoe Sanders Gwin

This submission is a digital piece that reflects my physical and emotional journey, based on the tarot card the World. The World card represents the life cycle and life changes. I chose this card because I feel connected to its meaning and tarot cards are important to me. Tarot cards are a storytelling mechanism, which is how it relates to the community connection. They can really help show someone the story of their lives. In this piece, I am showing the story of my life through body art. Each tattoo reflects a place I’ve been or a part of my journey. 

Prof. Jessica Walton

ARTD 110 - Two-Dimensional Design

The World digital painting by Zoe Sanders Gwin

True Colors


Kaylah Heath

This series was a work for my 2D Design class last semester where we were supposed to explore our identity in relation to a community or culture or something of the like. As someone who doesn't exactly have a specific culture I'm tied to, I chose to represent myself in connection with the LGBTQ+ community, as it is something near and dear to me as a gay woman. This is connected to "The Truth About Stories" because the book is about the author's identity told through stories. It's about defining yourself with the stories around you, and that's what I did.

Prof. Jessica Walton

ARTD 110 - Two-Dimensional Design

The Human Race and Genetics


Chaya Levin

This paper is about whether race is biological or social. We brought some examples of experiments done, which prove against it being biological. In the "truth about stories", it speaks regarding the assumption of ones race based on ones looks. 

Prof. Encarni Trueba

Biology 101

The Savage Warrior.jpg

The Savage Warrior

Mixed Media 

Renee Markel

My submission is on the Savage Warrior stereotype in western films over time. It looks about the viewers feelings after seeing the films and the Native Americans point of view. 

Prof. Beth Baunoch

MCOM 150 Movies:  History and Art

What Stories Are You Telling Yourself?

Mixed Media

Jessica Pieper

"The Truth About Stories" helped inspire this piece.  I did this piece on personal identity while focusing on my mother and trying to find a connection to her, as I lost her when I was very young and have avoided fully healing this loss until this past year. I used glass beads around the edge of my work and a weaving technique for the personal photographs and writings left from my mother; I weave rugs part time but I also like the idea that everything is connected and intertwined. The circle is a symbol of oneness. The triangle represents the hierarchy of needs, as with my experience, I could not begin my self healing and allow myself to fully be me until I reached a high tier in those needs.

What Story are You Telling Yourself_Piep

When Thomas King was speaking of how such blatant racism reminds him of how the past continues to inform the present it really resonated with me. This is true for society as a whole as well as for me as an individual. I have to change the story I tell myself in order to change how I perceive myself and the world in a more positive and helpful way. I hope by practicing this within myself and continuing to grow I can project that positivity and growth into the world around me. 

"You're not the Indian I had in mind" provokes thought about how stories that are told shape how we expect to experience things or people and how they should be. Stories create preconceived ideas, stereotypes, prejudices, and expectations of people and cultures which we ourselves have never experienced ourselves to inform our own opinions. Some stories are extremely harmful in this way... When people use false stories to incite fear for personal gain/agenda, this is an example of intentionally using stories for harm. 

King speaks about how there are two types of entertainment; crippling and enlightening. Let's change the story we are telling ourselves; let's change the stories we are telling each other. Let's be kinder to ourselves and let's be kinder to each other. Is it possible that if crippling entertainment has divided us so much, that maybe- just maybe- enlightening entertainment can bring us closer together?

What stories  are you telling yourself?

Prof. Jessica Walton

ARTD 110 - Two-Dimensional Design

Doesn't Feel Like Home


Angelica Putinski

Doesn't Feel Like Home Putinski photograph

In Thomas King's book, he discusses a lot about personal identity and fitting into cultural stereotypes. My piece discusses my complex relationship with Poland. I'm a white American woman so sometimes I don't really feel like I have much tradition in heritage. My family traces back to Poland, however Poland has overwhelming issues with homophobia, nationalism, and reproductive rights. As a bisexual female, it's an uncomfortable spot to try and connect with a country that doesn't want to connect with you and embrace you. Some small villages in Poland have developed "LGBT free zones" and politicians have declared morning-after pills as "express abortions."


In my work, I take reference from Michelangelo's Pieta to connect to Poland's very religious ideologies. My lovely friend Emilee is posed as Mary with a birth control pill in her mouth. 

Prof. Jessica Walton

Art History 102

I Believe Whatever You Love, You Take Care of, and I Love My Hair.


Ye Pryor

I wanted something very personal to me and my culture. Hair is personal, but it's an ongoing journey for everyone. Growing up, I hated my hair. I was always told it's too thick it's bushy, which lead my parents to relax my hair. Relaxed hair is more socially acceptable. Growing up, Being natural was not a trend. It was more of a political statement and took on negative attention. I cut all of my relaxed hair off and started this natural hair journey, which taught me patience and self-love. Identifying no hairstyles make me less unique I make any hairstyle I wear. 

Prof. Jessica Walton

ARTD 106 

Black and White photograph with yellow flowers in hair

My White Name is Mary

Creative Essay

Zoe Santiago

My submission is a creative essay piece, and I chose to create a diary/journal entry. It is based on a Native girl named Zonta who was forced to go to the Carlisle Indian Industrial School. Many Natives were forced from their identity at these types of schools. They stripped them of their cultures because they wanted to get rid of the Natives and their culture. This relates to "The Truth about Stories" because that book was written by a native and it discussed native issues. 

Dr. Kim Jensen 

English 102

Body Image: Learn to Love Yourself (Series)


Mya Smith

With this series, I reflected on the thoughts and feeling that I would have about my body image as a black woman; the insecurities of my size, my hair, or my skin tone. I’m guilty of being self-conscious about my body image and comparing myself to others and the standard of beauty. I wanted to create visuals that serve as a reminder to learn to love who I am and not to allow those negative thoughts to influence my mentality. Relating to "The Truth About Stories," the insecurities of black body image is common to black women, no matter what age they are. However, we are teaching ourselves and further generations that we don't have to look a certain way to be beautiful; we are who we are and that should be appreciated. 

Prof. Jessica Walton

History of Art ll

Native Americans The Hippies of Hollywoo

Native Americans: The Hippies of Hollywood


Madeline Stanger

My submission peeks into one of the many stereotypes forged over the years about Native Americans and their portrayals in American cinema. My focus is on the stereotype of the "Hippie Indian" found most often between the late 60's and 70's in movies portraying the counterculture movements at the time. I gathered my information from various student theses on the topic along with reviews and IMDb pages based on the related films. While in the 21st century, Native Americans may now have their own voices in cinema, the fact remains that a century of misrepresentation can be harder to rub off than expected. Native filmmakers are almost entirely independent. Since this is the case, they do not gain nearly as much exposure as compared to Hollywood blockbusters like "The Lone Ranger", which continue to perpetuate certain stereotypes about Native Americans.

Prof. Beth Baunoch

Communications 150

The Hippie Indian

Animoto Film

Matt Stiltner

I created this Animoto film in my History 150 class this year. It was my first mixed media project during my first semester of college. I am quite proud of it. The video is centered around depictions of Native Americans in film, particularly "the hippie indian" narrative that was pushed quite heavily in the 60's and 70's. Hope you enjoy!

Prof. Beth Baunoch

MCOM 150 Movies:  History and Art




Gold Wems

Inspired by Frida Kahlo's, "Self Portrait with Monkeys" my piece addresses the false perception of African immigrants in America. 'Njirimara' means "get to know me" or "Identity" in my mother tongue, Igbo. African Immigrants are always depicted as poverty stricken, oppressed and always seen from a primitive lens. Each figure on the side depicts a clear representation of those misconceptions, clawing at the bigger figure which is my true identity.

Prof. Jessica Walton

ARTD 106

The Ballad of the 38 Dakota


Nate Yielding

For one of my assigned essays I chose to cover the largest mass execution in US history that occurred on December 26, 1862 in Mankato, Minnesota of 38 Dakota warriors.  I wrote a historical ballad after much research.  I also used it for a submission to my Music 110 class.  I am not finished writing it but have accomplished much of it.  I have been in contact with someone who teaches Dakota to learn how to correctly pronounce the names of the warriors who perished that day.  I aim to make a song that will last for along time and accurately tell the story of what happened.  Additionally it has elements of noise, chaos, and free jazz which are not normally part of historic ballads but they are elements of music that I value.

Prof Kim Jensen and Prof Clint McCallum

English 102 and Music 110

Race is Not Biology


Naya Betters, Ariana Hall-Dye, Opeyemi Akinrotimi, DeAndre Brown, and Arooj Zia

In this essay we the explained the reason on why classification of human race is not considered biology. The essay was developed with the help of many different sources; these sources where made by scientist and people who wanted everyone to understand the reason why race is biology. The reason of why race is not biology is touched on in the book "The Truth about Stories" in chapter two " You're Not the Indian I had it Mind"

Prof. Trueba 
Biology 110

Why You Are Not the Indian I Had in Mind: Dispelling Biological Classification of Race Through Genetics


Ashley O'Brien, Jennifer Alexander, Kafee Choi, Enrico Bailey, and Madison Benner

This is a group assignment research paper on the ways of proving the biological classification of race through genetics. The overall concept is race is a social construct as when you examine human DNA, no biological marker of race can be found. There are variety of alleles and appearances that create differences within humans. There is one race and it is the Human race. 

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