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Young Publishers

Community Celebration of Place initiated the creation and publishing of twelve story-song books in school year 2013-2014 in partnership with the Minneapolis Public Schools and the West Metro Education Program (WMEP). These books, written and illustrated by youth, honor the cultural diversity of our region through the inspirational life stories of community elders. These works are now being integrated into the yearly curriculum of area schools And made available FREE online.

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Men of Color Series

The theme for the 2014-2015 Young Publishers Series is Honoring Men of Color. Art instructors will be drawing from over 75 existing first person narratives and songs—along with new narratives being gathered by students—to create literature that meets multiple lexille levels. Our goal is to create a comprehensive body of student-based literature which celebrates the many faces of our region.

View all Men of Color Narratives & Songs

Youth and Elders Circle

“I am because we are”


At the end of each school year Community Celebration of Place hosts an annual Youth and Elders’ Circle. The Youth and Elders Circle brings together elders past and present, who have been honored through Elders’ Wisdom, Children’s Song, to interact with youth and district staff from the region to celebrate our shared work and to further create intergenerational and multicultural opportunities for all students to prosper.

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Writers in the Library: Larry Long

Join Larry Long and others on Thursday, Mar 26th, from 5:00-6:00 pm, for Youth of Sumner Library present: “Shake It Off! Stomp It Down!” a song written in honor of librarian Jerry Blue. For families of all ages.

Also featuring: Abdulkadir Said (Somali Composer), Nothando Zulu (Master Storyteller), Joe Savage (Musician & Ojibwe Artist), Joe Davis (Spoken Word) & Larry Long (Troubadour).

This project is funded with money from Minnesota's Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

Honoring Elders for Over Twenty Years

Namgyal Dorjee, President of Tibetan American Foundation of Minnesota, being interviewed by Larry Long, Creator of Elders’ Wisdom, Chldren’s Song and Executive Director of Community Celebration of Place.Elder Namgyal Dorjee with Larry LongOver the past twenty years, Community Celebration of Place has honored nearly 1,000 community elders from across the United States and the world in spoken word, song, and art. Alan Lomax, one of the great American field collectors of folk music of the 20th century, once called Elders’ Wisdom, Children’s Song, the “missing link”. That link continues to get stronger with every year.

Thank you to everyone for your years of support. We look forward to the next twenty years!

Honored Elders

Makida Abdulahi

Oromo-Jawi Elder and First Woman to Graduate High School In Her City

Music-Film Documentaries Spotlight EWCS Elders

In 2011, Community Celebration of Place and filmmaker David McDonald teamed up to produce two music-film documentaries about EWCS Elders Gyatsho Tshering and Helen Tsuchiya. "Tibet" and "Be Kind to All That Live" feature each elder's honor song, photographs and interviews surrounding their stories. Both songs are featured on Executive Director Larry Long's album, Don't Stand Still.

Watch the films

The Youth Voices Music Project

“Since I was young, at an early age, no one seemed to care what I had to say. If they only knew what we’ve been through, they would say, oh my god, what can I do?”

The above excerpt is from “Freedom,” a song written and recorded by two young girls imprisoned in a children’s detention center, with the help of Larry Long.

During the Spring of 2010, the SPLC worked in collaboration with youth from the Gulf Coast Region and professional musicians to use music to give a voice to these children’s realities, hopes and dreams. Through the SPLC Youth Voices Music Project, over a few short days, these children wrote, sang and recorded seven original songs. The children demonstrate remarkable gifts and talents, as well as profound depth and thoughtfulness about life as a child in the Deep South in their music and lyrics.

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In Memoriam

Pat Bellanger, Awanakwe (Water Woman), passed away on April,2, 2015. A matriarch of the American Indian Movement, Ms. Bellanger shared her story with the students at Sanford Middle School in 2013. The kids wrote the song “Awanakwe” to honor her.

Learn more about Pat Bellanger


I had the most awesome musical experience of my life—when I heard the fourth grade children at Eagle Heights Spanish Immersion school sing “Your Song” honoring our Elders! One of the elders was my son John. WHAT A SONG!

Thank You, Jack Tschida

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Teacher Resources

We've compiled all the songs and stories from the celebrations for the 2006-2007 school year into two songbooks, and are excited to offer them free to download from our site:

News & Events

Glen Lake Elementary School will host an Elders’ Wisdom, Children’s Song celebration honoring three community elders in their gym on Thursday, May 7, 2015, 1:30 PM – 2:30 PM.

Sonnesyn Elementary School will host an Elders’ Wisdom, Children’s Song celebration honoring three community elders in their gym on Thursday, February 5, 2015, 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM.

The entire American Roots Revue Five-City Legacy Summer Tour ensemble is reuniting to perform at the Dakota Jazz Club in downtown Minneapolis on September 14, 2014!