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The Arts
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.
Premiere of Two Spirits to air on June14 on PBS
Friday, June 10 2011
 
Written by Andrea Cornelius,
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arts story - two spirit.jpgIn a remote town, 16 year old Fred Martinez became one of the youngest hate-crime victims when he was brutually murdered a quarter mile from his house. The documentary, Two Spirits, directed by Lydia Nibley, is the tragic story of Martinez, a Navajo boy that was beaten to death because of his gay identity, interwoven with a look at a time in history when Native American culture was not split into solely male and female genders.
Martinez's mother, Pauline Mitchell, serves as the main source in Martinez strory and along with Navajo anthropologist Wesley K. Thomas, Gay and Lesbian activists; Richard LaFortune, Cathy Renna, John Peters-Campbell, Mark Thompson among many more gay/lesbian community members who share their insight into Martinez's short life.
In the Navajo tradition, there was also a fourth gender called nadleehi, a person born as a male and as an adult assumed the role of a woman in society. Nadleehi was not uncommon and those who held that position were respected and worked as negotiators, healers, matchmakers within the tribe and when children were orphaned they became their caretakers. This tradition of nadleehi is a position that Martinez occupied and a demonstration of his struggle to follow his Native traditions while being himself.


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