Story Corps Collects Medora Stories

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A nation-wide effort to document the stories of everyday Americans came to North Dakota this weekend.

Story Corps workers visited Theodore Roosevelt National Park to record a dozen, 40-minute segments with people who have a special place in their hearts for national parks.

Jim Olson reports from Medora.

(Susan Lee, Story Corps) “Everyone has a story and every story is important.”

That’s what Story Corps is all about.

(Erik Holland, Curator of Education/N.D. Historical Society) “It’s extremely significant to me.”

Putting on the record the stories of everyday Americans.

(Alisha Deegan, Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site) “It’s the personal stories that are really important and how they tie back to the park. And I think to capture that story is pretty cool.”

That’s why Alisha Deegan was so happy to be a part of Story Corps partnership with the National Park Service on its 100th anniversary and this weekend’s sessions at Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

(Alisha Deegan, Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site) “I’m a member of the Three Affiliated Tribes too and that oral history is something that has been passed down and now Story Corps is kind of taking that full circle and getting people’s stories so we can save it for future generations.”

Deegan spent 40 minutes talking with Erik Holland – the curator of education at the State Historical Society.

(Erik Holland, Curator of Education/N.D. Historical Society) “The record of the past into the future is very important and so I see any way we can leave a legacy is a value.”

Their session – and the 11 others committed to digital memory this weekend at Medora – were overseen by Story Corps staff. In the 13 years Story Corps has been recording, 70,000 pairs of Americans have told their stories.

(Susan Lee, Story Corps) “That’s really for history and also for posterity but also the experience itself is really valued.”

(Amy McCann, Theodore Roosevelt National Park Centennial Ranger) “I’ve been hearing stories I haven’t yet heard.”

Amy McCann was in charge of lining up the subjects to talk about national parks, and she wanted to focus both on the staff who help make places like Theodore Roosevelt National Park special, but also on the people who love and frequently visit the park.

(Amy McCann, Theodore Roosevelt National Park Centennial Ranger) “They take it and say this is my park and I want to know why you come to that. What did you pick Theodore Roosevelt National Park to be your park?”

And for Susan Lee of Story Corps?

(Susan Lee, Story Corps) “I always want to keep listening. We often say at Story Corps that 40 minutes is not enough.”

At Medora, Jim Olson, KX News.

Story Corps stories are available at the Library of Congress – plus many are online at

And each week, one story in featured by National Public Radio on its Morning Edition show.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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