Gayle Ross is an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation and a direct descendant of John Ross, Principal Chief of the Cherokee during the infamous “Trail of Tears”. Her grandmother told stories and it is from this rich Native American heritage that Gayle’s storytelling springs. During the past twenty-five years, Gayle has become one of the best-loved and most respected storytellers to emerge from the current surge of interest in this timeless art form.
Gayle has appeared at almost every major storytelling and folk festival in the United States and Canada, as well as theaters and performance arts halls through out the U.S. and Europe, often appearing with some of today’s finest Native American musicians and dancers. She is in great demand as a lecture artist on college campuses and as a keynote speaker at education and humanities conferences. Most importantly, she continues to mesmerize children at countless schools and libraries across the country. Whether she is provoking laughter with a Trickster tale or moving her listeners to tears with a haunting myth, Gayle is truly a master of the age-old craft of storytelling. The prestigious National Council of Traditional Arts has included Gayle in two of their touring shows, “The Master Storyteller’s Tour” and the all Indian show, “From the Plains to the Pueblos”. Internationally acclaimed musician and composer Peter Buffet featured Gayle and her stories in his epic stage performance “500 Nations”, based on the CBS mini-series produced by Kevin Costner. Gayle also produced and directed an all-Native show entitled “Full Circle”, which featured the Grammy award-winning Mohegan musician Bill Miller, as well as the singing and dancing of Rob Greyhill, Jennifer Meness and the Great American Indian Dance Theater.
Gayle was invited by then Vice President Al Gore to perform at a gala at his residence entitled “A Taste of Tennessee” and she was chosen by the Clinton White House as the only Native American speaker at the giant “Millenium on the Mall” celebration in Washington D.C. First Lady Laura Bush selected Gayle to perform at the National Book Festival’s opening gala where she shared the stage with such luminaries as CBS News anchor Bob Schieffer and stage and screen star, Julie Andrews. Gayle’s stories have opened evenings for such distinguished speakers as Maya Angelou, N. Scott Momaday and Alice Walker and she has appeared with such noted Native American artists as Rita Coolidge, Wes Studi, Kevin Locke and John Trudell.
As the author of five critically acclaimed children’s books, Gayle has been asked to speak at the American Library Association, the International Reading Association and the International Board of Books for Young People. She was recently featured in the ground-breaking American Experience series “We Shall Remain” in the “The Trail of Tears” episode. Her stories have been heard on National Public Radio on such programs as “Living on the Earth” and “Mountain Stages”. From the kindergarten classroom to the college campus to the Kennedy Center, Gayle stories have enthralled audiences of all ages.