Barre Toelken is one of my great heroes.

Great blog post on Barre Toelken and his work!

Welcome to the Western Folklife Center

By Hal Cannon, Western Folklife Center Founding Director

Barre Toelken is one of my great heroes. It’s more than the fact that he’s an esteemed folklorist who younger folklorists look up to. It’s more than his wonderful books on folklore, or the hundreds of songs he knows. It’s really the way he conducts his life with courage and individuality that makes him a hero.

We had been friendly and sung together, mostly at the yearly Fife Folklore Conference at Utah State University. When I began working in radio I asked to interview him. We ended up having a good conversation and over the years I’ve gone back to him several times for interviews on a variety of subjects.

A few years ago he asked me if I wanted to travel to Navajo country to visit his family.  I began to see another side of Barre as I watched the way…

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