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Laughter gives us energy.  Laughter gives us more time.

It actually adds time to your life. 

So I am giving you the information

and I am giving you more time to change the world. 

You’re welcome, American theatre!

 Larissa FastHorse, (Sicangu Lakota Nation)

Playwright of The Thanksgiving Play

Welcome to Acme Theatre Company’s Zoom reading of The Thanksgiving Play by Larissa FastHorse.

This is a story about performative ally-ship and “woke-ness.”  Four non-Native people set forth with the best of intentions to create a culturally respectful play about the first Thanksgiving.  Over the course of 90-minutes, [SPOILER ALERT!] their anxiety to appear respectful leads them to talk themselves out of doing...anything.  And to convince themselves that this nothing is… excellent.    

As we chuckle at their twisted, funny, and painful stumbles, Larissa has created time and space for each of us to ask...  

  • How do we currently teach and learn about Native American histories and contemporary experiences?  

  • How do we hold ourselves accountable for creating positive change?  

  • How might we work to bring our groups and institutions into relationship with the people whose land we live on? 

Most of my life, I have lived in a mostly-white-all-the-time world where the “best we can do” is acknowledge an empty, quiet space.  The violence of white silence stifles on.  Nothing gets messy.  And nothing gets changed.  Because relationships are messy.  And so is justice.  

 

My hope is that this reading leads Acme’s youth and our audiences to continue re-thinking how we teach, learn and engage with our country’s histories and contemporary Native-led movements for justice.

 

Following tonight’s reading, I hope you will stay with us as:

 

  • Ashley Matlock (Hoopa/Yurok)

  • Jennifer Robin (Mississsippi Band Choctaw & Miwuk) 

  • Prof Hulleah J. Tsinhnahjinnie (Seminole/Muscogee/Dine’) 

discuss their responses to this script with Ethnic Studies educator, Dr. Melissa Moreno and Acme’s youth.

Thank you for joining us!

Yours in learning,

Emily Henderson

Artistic Director, Acme Theatre Company

November 25, 2020

Directors Note:

Cast & Crew

CAST

LOGAN......................................................................Juna Brothers

JAXTON...........................................................Mattias RowenBale

CADEN..........................................................................Ian Bourne

ALICIA.............................................................Xiomara Velasquez

ENSEMBLE........................................Elliot Larson, Analia Eiesen

 

TECH CREWS

Stage Management..........................................Mattias RowenBale

Set Design...................................................................Jackie Wallis

Costume Design................Juna Brothers, Morgan Hendrix-Chupa

Light Design...............................................................Maya Bailey

Props Master...........................................Wren Arellano-Calderon

Publicity Director.....................................Morgan Hendrix-Chupa

Webmaster............................................................Cassidy Carlson

Front of House.........................................................Sawyer Spann

Panelists

Ashley Matlock (Hoopa/Yurok)

DJUSD Parent & Ethnic Studies Student

Prof. Hulleah J. Tsinhnahjinnie (Seminole/Muscogee/Dine’)

DJUSD Parent, Professor of Native American Studies at UC Davis

Jennifer Robin (Mississsippi Band Choctaw & Miwuk)

Broadcaster/host of KVMR’s Resilience Radio

 

Co-Moderated by:

Dr. Melissa Moreno

Chair of Ethnic Studies, Woodland Community College

 
 

Resources

 

 

In November 2020, Acme Theatre Company used the resources below to begin educating ourselves as we rehearsed a Zoom reading of Larissa FastHorses’s The Thanksgiving Play.

 

We invite you to use this (very introductory) list to educate yourself, share these resources with your friends and family, and get connected with local and state-wide advocacy efforts to integrate Ethnic Studies in our K-12 & college curriculums.

 

We would like to acknowledge and thank the writers, film-makers, and educators who were willing and able to create and share these resources with the world.  In particular, we are grateful to

 

  • Dr. Melissa Moreno (Chair of Ethnic Studies Department, Woodland Community College) for sharing many of these resources in her annual Introduction ot Native American Studies class and for her support during our rehearsal process.  

  • Steve Nyholm for sharing his resources on the history of the Thanksgiving holiday.

 

Land Acknowledgement

 

Wintun Homeland 

 

California Indian History & Ongoing Struggles

 

Myths & Misrepresentations

 

Native Youth

  • Fighting Racism in Schools Four Native youth - Dahkota Brown, Chiitaanibah Johnson, Jayden Lim & Naelyn Pike share their personal stories and advice about how to abolish racism in school. 

  • Guardians of the Waters: A video created by, and about, indigenous young women as they explore their relationship with water.

  • Seeds of Our Ancestors This video grew out of the poetic explorations of native urban youth as they struggle to overcome trauma caused by colonized/industrial foods and awaken to the healing and nourishment of native foodways from their own traditions and those of others. 

  • Braiding the Sacred What is indigenous food sovereignty?  What happens when food is treated as sacred?  

 

History of the Thanksgiving Holiday

 

About Larissa FastHorse, Playwright of The Thanksgiving Play

 

Decolonizing Our Education System

 

Music

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