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HOWLoween 2023: Celebrating National Wolf Awareness Week at Stanford Libraries

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Event Details:

National Wolf Awareness Week takes place on the third week of October and is intended to "celebrate the unique place of wolves in the animal kingdom and learn more about their threatened place in the natural world today." This year will mark the third year of celebration at Stanford Libraries, after HOWLoween 2022 and HOWLoween 2021.

The goal of HOWLoween is to learn more about wolves, to examine the human fascination with wolves, and also to explore the meanings and characteristics that humans associate with wolves through various cultural forms of expression.

First time visiting Stanford? Stanford University is a large campus and it is important to plan ahead. For parking and travel information, as well as access to Green Library, please see this site



1:00pm: “Introduction and welcome: The meanings of wolves”
Kathleen Smith (Curator, Germanic Collections & Medieval Studies, Stanford Libraries)

 “The wolf in Comanche folklore and tradition”
Weyodi OldBear (Writer and Storyteller)

The wolf plays a very different role in Indigenous/Native American cultures than it does in Western European traditions such as fairy tales and accounts from the medieval to the present. This session will present some of the ways in which the wolf appears in Comanche tales and traditions.

2:00pm: “A wolf in the children’s hospital: Sculptures that tell stories”
Antonia Dapena-Tretter (Art Curator, Stanford Children’s Health)

Why is there a giant gray wolf sculpture in the middle of Stanford Children’s Health, a hospital for children facing serious illness? What does it mean to those around it, and how can we use this sculpture, and others, to explore stories of illness, resilience, and community?

Coffee Break 

3:00pm: “The Big Bold Wolf? A study to investigate personality in captive gray wolves (Canis lupus)” 
Yasmeen Ghavamian (Animal Biology PhD Student, University of California, Davis) 

As part of ongoing research at the California Wolf Center and Oakland Zoo, this talk will provide an overview of animal personality research in addition to the methodology UC Davis researchers are using to assess personality in wolves, outcomes of animal care staff ratings of wolf personality, and the impacts this research holds for welfare and conservation. 

4:00pm: Panel discussion among all speakers: “Telling wolf stories”


Speaker Biographies

Weyodi OldBear (she/her)

Weyodi OldBear (she/her) was born on the shores of Long Island Sound among her father’s people but raised among her mother’s people, the Comanche Nation of Oklahoma, where she is an enrolled voting citizen. After the death of her grandparents in 2013 and 2014 she left Oklahoma for other parts of traditional Comanche territory.  She’s written 4 novels, hundreds of poems, numerous speculative fiction and science fiction short stories in addition to a historical play about her great great grandparents Weckeah OldBear and Quanah Parker, and is one of the principal writers for the groundbreaking Indigenous Futurist tabletop Role Playing Game Coyote & Crow. In 2018 she was awarded the Imagining Indigenous Futurisms prize for her story “Red Lessons.” Weyodi has two novel publications pending in 2024, As Many Ships As Stars with Android Press and Chunky Atakwasi: Finder of Lost Loves, a graphic novel from Native Realities Press, with art by Sadekaronhes Esquivel. Weyodi reckons her lifelong focus on speculative fiction is the result of a childhood surrounded by elderly Comanches with a lively interest in both the past and the future as well as a distinctly non-mainstream world view. Today Weyodi lives in Albuquerque, heading her large extended household, on the traditional nomadic route of her band.

Antonia Dapena-Tretter (she/her)

Antonia earned her Masters degree in Art History from the University of Toronto with an emphasis on modern and contemporary art. Her research has taken on a variety of different forms, from public speaking engagements at museums and universities to articles in peer-reviewed journals and art magazines. Antonia is passionate about sharing art with the public through educational and cross-disciplinary learning opportunities. In this capacity, she has held managerial positions at institutions like The Kreeger Museum and The Walt Disney Family Museum, and has exposed thousands of students, educators, and underserved populations to the expressive possibilities of art-making and animation. Believing in the power of art to heal, Antonia currently holds the position of Art Curator at Stanford Children's Health. In this role, she oversees all acquisitions, installations, temporary displays, and conservation measures for a robust permanent collection of art.

Yasmeen Ghavamian (she/her)

Yasmeen is a graduate student (PhD Animal Biology) in the Animal Behavior and Cognition Lab of the Department of Animal Science at the University of California, Davis. She has a BA in Biology and an MS in Biology from Sonoma State University. Her master’s research at Sonoma State University investigated the effects of complex feeding enrichment on the stereotypic behavior of the sun bears at Oakland Zoo. For her PhD, Yasmeen is researching how the captive North America gray wolf (Canis lupus) personality may impact cognitive enrichment engagement.

Kathleen M. Smith (she/her)

Kathleen M. Smith is the subject specialist for the Germanic Collections & Medieval Studies at Stanford Libraries. Prior to Stanford, she worked in the Research and Development Department of the State and University Library in Göttingen, Germany. She has a B.A. in English Literature & Germanic Studies from the University of Colorado at Boulder, a M.S.I.S. from the University of Texas at Austin, and a PhD in Germanic Languages and Literatures from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


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