STF 2018 Keynote Speaker - Tim Tingle


aturday, March 24,  Tim Tingle will present the keynote presentation for the 37th annual Sharing the Fire Conference & Festival.  The award-winning storyteller and author will share insights into authenticity – insights gained as an Oklahoma Choctaw whose ancestors walked the Trail of Tears. Tim tells the tales in the tradition of his elders, with respect, truthfulness, and generosity.  In his book, Walking the Choctaw Road, he shares “stories woven from the supernatural, mythical, historical and oral accounts of Choctaw people living today.”

2018 Keynote Address

by Tim Tingle

“Pull Back the Curtains”

As a citizen of the Choctaw Nation, I was raised knowing historical truths and tragedies that most Americans will never know. I also witnessed and saw the unraveling of truth during Viet Nam and the Civil Rights era, and at the age of fifty I made a decision.

A handful of elders schooled me well. “Build a bridge,” I was told, “and lead the unknowing ones one step at a time, always with a smile of understanding, for you cannot blame those standing before you for the mistakes their ancestors made.”

I now write and perform oral stories from that perspective. Share the hardship, the pain, but let the final message, the overwhelming theme, be that of strength in overcoming—the joy of life anew.

The time has arrived for you, as well, to pull back the curtains and share the truths you know. On another road, if you long for stories outside of your own culture……..let’s learn how best to nourish and protect.



About Tim

Tim Tingle is an Oklahoma Choctaw and an award-winning author and storyteller. His great-great grandfather, John Carnes, walked the Trail of Tears in 1835, and his paternal grandmother attended a series of rigorous Indian boarding schools in the early 1900’s. In 1993, Tingle retraced the Trail of Tears to Choctaw homelands in Mississippi and began recording stories of tribal elders.

Tingle was a featured author and speaker at the 2014 National Book Festival in Washington, D.C., based on critical acclaim for "How I Became a Ghost," which won the 2014 American Indian Youth Literature Award. The next book in the series, "When A Ghost Talks, Listen," will be released June 24, at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., and June 26 at the American Library Association Conference in Orlando.

His first children’s book, "Crossing Bok Chitto," garnered over twenty state and national awards, and was an Editor’s Choice in the New York Times Book Review. In June of 2011, Tingle spoke at the Library of Congress and presented his first performance at the Kennedy Center, in Washington, D.C. He received his Masters Degree in English Literature at the University of Oklahoma in 2003, with a focus on American Indian studies. While teaching writing courses and completing his thesis, “Choctaw Oral Literature,” Tingle wrote his first book, "Walking the Choctaw Road." It was selected as Book of the Year in both Oklahoma and Alaska.

As a visiting author and performer, Tingle reaches audiences numbering over 200,000 annually. He has completed eight speaking tours for the U.S. Department of Defense, performing stories to children of military personnel stationed in Germany.
In February of 2016, his novel “House Of Purple Cedar” won the American Indian Youth Literature Award.

Learn more about Tim at