Windsor residents explore ancestry with new live storytelling series

Teajai Travis said he wants to explore the ancestry stories of Windsor residents through his live storytelling event, A Blaze of Story.  ( - image credit)
Teajai Travis said he wants to explore the ancestry stories of Windsor residents through his live storytelling event, A Blaze of Story. ( - image credit)

Halfway through his two year term as Windsor's first multicultural community storyteller Teajai Travis has launched a new series of live storytelling events aimed at exploring the histories of Windsor's residents.

The monthly storytelling event is called A Blaze of Story, and is hosted at Cafe Amor on Ottawa Street.

The event features different voices from Windsor's community, with a focus on multicultural stories, and uses a combination of storytelling, drumming and dancing.

"So many of us have come from different places," he said, and with his role as community storyteller he has been able to "really focus in on other people's stories, the story of the the city and the surrounding area, but also the stories that brought so many of us here."

Travis said the theme of the storytelling sessions is ancestral stories of Windsor's residents.

Amor Hernandez, owner of Cafe Amor, said she is happy to support any local arts at her cafe and that as a Mexican-Canadian, the project is close to her.

"We feel very much part of this, every person has a story to tell," she said.

Travis said he is working on transforming the series into something more.

The new project is called Sacred Story Studio, which will develop A Blaze of Story into a podcast and possibly a print book.

"I've decided to launch Sacred Story Studios in a way that it will exist as a gallery of stories, the stories that we collect through A Blaze of Story," he said.

Travis, who identifies as Afro-Indigenous, said inspiration for his ancestral story series comes partially from learning his own family history, and the stories that come along with that knowledge.

"My oldest known ancestors, they liberated themselves from enslavement in the southern states of the United States of America," he said.

Travis said his ancestors purchased land and founded a freedom town after being liberated, before he said the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 brought his family to Ontario, where they settled.

"Knowing that that's part of my story, that exists in like the marrow of my bones, and it's the story of so many others," he said, inspired him to provide a platform for others to share their family histories.

Travis said there is an open call out for Windsor residents to join A Blaze of Story and share their stories in whatever way they would like, whether that's through dance, drumming, singing or speaking.

The next A Blaze of Story event will be on Valentine's Day, Feb. 14 at 5 p.m., and will feature Windsor poet and performance artist Mbonisi Zikhali Zomkhonto.