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The Arts
Hennepin Theatre Trust Celebrates Andrew Jackson in Musical
Monday, July 07 2014
 
Written by Alfred Walking Bull,
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web-hennepin theatre trust celebrates andrew jackson in musical 1.jpgArt imitated life after a June 19 performance of “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson,” a production of the Hennepin Theatre Trust that portrays the exploits of the U.S. president responsible for the Trail of Tears.

In the run up to the performance, New Native Theatre's Rhiana Yazzie organized a protest of the musical after she wrote an open letter about the play. In the letter, she decried the organization's choice of subject matter, “I think it was an unfortunate choice for Minneapolis Musical Theatre to produce this play and I have no doubt they played into the same disconnect the authors did, not considering the effect it could have on real people or that Native Americans might actually be audience members.”

In the production, references to Native American culture included the joke, “Tell me what's the difference between a little homosexual Indian boy and George Washington? Besides the fact you'd murder either of them without thinking twice?" In addition, Yazzie objected to the fact that Native characters were portrayed by non-Native actors who were written as stoic and speaking in a halting manner. Additional references to Native culture included the character of Andrew Jackson (played by Philip C. Matthews), disparaging Native art and music with a declarative, “Your music sucks.”

Peter Matthiesson, Author of "In the Spirit of Crazy Horse" Passes On
Thursday, May 01 2014
 
Written by Winona LaDuke,
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laduke-passing on-peter matthiessen 2.jpg“… For all those who honor and defend those people who still seek in the wisdom of the Indian way…”,

Peter Mattheisson, from the dedication of In the Spirit of Crazy Horse.

He was a writer among writers, up to the last. Peter Mattheisson lived in an era of grand adventure writers, storytelling in words, and lived it well. I remember thinking that with our times together, walking, talking and watching him in his craft. I knew him as a friend, and loved him as a courageous and gifted man. He died April 5, after a gifted life. As a young writer, I admired his style and his agility. The word and the story is what he loved, a careful art, trampled often by todays’ era of tweeting and sensational journalism. The art, however still remains.

As a Native woman I appreciated his courage,that he came from immense privilege and had the heart, resources and tenacity to tell stories in a way, that only he could tell and that he loved our community. He was a man who could write about nature, and nuance of description, perhaps better than any other. He wrote 33 books and is the only writer to have won the National Book Award three times.

I remember Peter from l980, when he had come to Indian Country, in this case, first in the Navajo Nation, where I was working on uranium mining expansion proposals, in the midst of an arid land, already faced with groundwater contamination, and a way of life challenged by health issues of radiation contamination and an economic poverty forced upon a self sufficient people. He drove a rental car and I talked, taking him from house to sacred mountain, and elder to elder. He was an apt listener, crystalizing the essence and chronicling the stories. Then it was that he came to South Dakota, a place which would move him and a story which would catapult an environmental writer into a national controversy.

Artifact Traffic Combines Old and New Native Art
Thursday, December 05 2013
 
Written by Jamie Keith, TC Daily Planet,
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artifact traffic combines old and new native art2-color.jpgHeid Erdrich, co-director and curator of the multi-genre art exhibit and performance Artifact Traffic, has always been drawn to seemingly disparate forms and images.

“When I work as a curator, I feel drawn to those things that traffic contemporary images with traditional images,” she said. “I love pushing forms against one another – you're making all those things create a vibration between them.”

Artifact Traffic was born of the desire to create this vibration between different forms of art and brought together Indigenous artists with whom Erdrich had collaborated over her long career as a poet, playwright, and curator.

“It's really helpful for us to be in community, even if we don't do the same kind of art,” Erdrich said.

Red Sky Performances does Raven Stole The Sun
Friday, March 09 2012
 
Written by The Circle Staff,
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red_sky_performances_does_raven_stole_the_sun.jpgRaven Stole the Sun is being presented by New Native Theatre at Saint Paul's SteppingStone Theatre March 23-25. Written by Canadian Ojibway author, Drew Hayden Taylor, Raven Stole the Sun is a dance theatre piece being performed by Red Sky Performance, Canada's leading company of  Indigenous performance in dance, theatre, and music.
In the dance performance Raven is a creature of impulse and invention. In order to satisfy his overwhelming sense of curiosity, Raven hatches a scheme for stealing the stars, moon, and sun, and ends up bringing light to the people of the world.
The play is based on a traditional Tlingit story as recounted by Shaa Tlaa Maria Williams. The Tlingit straddle the borders of the Yukon and Alaska; the costumes and set for Raven are based on traditional designs of the Tlingit nation.
In addition to five performances, audiences will have an opportunity to attend a free meet-the-artists workshop with the performers from Raven Stole the Sun on March 24 at 4:00 pm. People can attend the 2:00 pm show prior and stay for the workshop, or they can plan on arriving early for the 7:00 pm performance to interact with the Red Sky artists.
10-minute play about AIM stirs controversy in Mpls. Indian community
Sunday, February 19 2012
 
Written by By Sheila Regan TC Daily Planet,
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A 10-minute play by Navajo playwright Rhiana Yazzie was at the center of a controversy within the local Native American community. The play focuses on two fictional characters in 1968 - the year that the American Indian Movement (AIM) was founded - and several real-life people  are mentioned, including AIM co-founder Clyde Bellecourt.
The History Theatre premiered "1968: The Year That Rocked The World" on January 21 at Minnesota History Center's 3M Auditorium. The theater commissioned seven playwrights from the Playwrights' Center, including Rhiana Yazzie, to write plays focusing on the events.
Yazzie's play, The Corral, takes place during the time when AIM was just beginning in Minneapolis. It is titled after a bar on Franklin Avenue frequented by American Indian people at the time; the bar was the site of much police brutality during that time period.
Yazzie was commissioned to write two plays. The first play Yazzie wrote didn't focus on AIM. Yazzie said that History Theatre artistic director Ron Peluso asked her to write a second play that focused more on AIM. He had suggested that Clyde Bellecourt, one of the founders of AIM, could a character, Yazzie said.
Yazzie said she never wanted Bellecourt to be a character. Peluso suggested that Yazzie interview Bellecourt, which at first she didn't want to do. In the end she agreed to interview Bellecourt.
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