Troyd A. Geist

Troyd Geist

Red Box

North Dakota
Speaker & Consultant

Troyd is the state folklorist with the North Dakota Council on the Arts charged with encouraging the preservation and continuation of folk and traditional arts, heritage, and culture.  He holds a Master of Arts degree in Sociology/Anthropology from North Dakota State University.  His responsibilities include managing the Folk and Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program, conducting on-going research and documentation of folklore/folk art in North Dakota, advising the NDCA and its sub-grantees on appropriate ways to expand the state's awareness of its cultural heritage, producing folk art and folklife exhibits, publications, and audio recordings, administering the NDCA's continuing education classes Multicultural Traditions,Folklore and the Environment, and teaching the class Northern Lights: Folklore and Folk Art in North Dakota and Iceland, and assisting with folk arts integration efforts in other agency programs.  He has conducted large special projects on North Dakota's reservations through the Lila-Wallace Reader's Digest Fund for Folk Culture.  He has produced twelve CDs of traditional music and storytelling, four of which received national awards including three for Best Spoken Word from the Native American Music Association, and five of which are enhanced CDs.

Troyd has examined the interplay between folk art/folk culture and health in the following areas; the impact of arts on the “three plagues” - loneliness, helplessness, and boredom – that affect the health of elders in long-term care facilities, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and the impact of traditional storytelling as a counseling tool, Bell’s Palsy as viewed and treated in traditional cultures, and Familial Alzheimer’s Disease tracking using anthropological methods.  His seminal work with folk arts/artists in elder care facilities resulted in the development of the NDCA’s Art for Life Program, as of 2014 involving 11 communities with 9 local arts agencies in partnership with 13-14 elder care facilities including Alzheimer’s care units.  His most recently produced CDs areOn the Edge of the Wind: From the Mythic Landscape of the Dakotas and Take Flight: Guided Imagery to American Indian Flute Music.  With multiple health efforts, these recordings are guided imagery CDs featuring Dr. Linda Gourneau, an American Indian physician, and Keith Bear, an American Indian flute player.  Guided imagery narration and music both are documented to have an improved effect on emotional and physical states like a sense of calm, heart rate, blood pressure, and brain wave activity. Used together, they can be a powerful tool.  In partnership with Sanford Health, the nation’s largest, rural, not-for-profit health care system in the nation, these CDs also will be utilized within 38 of Sanford’s primary care clinics as part of their nationally recognized One Care Initiative

Troyd was invited recently to participate and represent the NCCA in the “Communities of Practice” project directed and supported by the National Council for Creative Aging.  In 2010, he co-authored, co-edited, and co-compiled the book Sundogs and Sunflowers: Folklore and Folk Art of the Northern Great Plains which was recognized in 2012 with a national Notable Documents Award from the American Library Association.  He currently is working to produce Art for Life Program activity plans based on this publication to positively improve the emotional and physical health of elders.

Community Artistry and Development