Ernestine Shuswap Gets Her Trout: A "string Quartet" for Four Female Actors
Based on a deposition signed by 14 Chiefs of the Thompson River basin on the occasion of a visit to their lands by Canadian Prime Minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier in 1910, Ernestine Shuswap Gets Her Trout is a ritualized retelling of how the Native Peoples of British Columbia lost their fishing, hunting and grazing rights, their lands, and finally their language without their agreement or consent, and without any treaties ever having been signed. It is one of the most compellingly tragic cases of cultural genocide to emerge from the history of colonialism, enacted by four women whose stories follow each other like the cyclical seasons they represent.
Written in the spirit of Shuswap, a “Trickster language” within which the hysterically comic spills over into the unutterably tragic and back, this play is haunted by the blood of the dead spreading over the landscape like a red mist of mourning.
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ANNABELLE offstage ANNABELLE Oh Annabelle Okanagan ANNABELLE Yes ANNABELLE's Anyway banquet beaver belly Big Kahoona Billy Boy Johnson British Columbia Catholic cello music Charles Peter Johnson Chicheelia Kaboom chiefs cowboy Coyote Daisy-May Kaboom dear Delilah Rose Johnson Delilah Rose Laughingbird DELILAH ROSE laughs Don Jenkins dragon ERNESTINE Neigh ERNESTINE Oh Ernestine Shuswap eyes fade-in fade-out fish fishing's not allowed gonna gramophone hanging ingenious irrigation system inside ISABEL Hmph Isabel Thompson Jo-hoe Joe says Joe Shuswap Johnny Okanagan Johnson of Kamloops Kahoona of Canada kispiox land Laurier Memorial Lolly-yay long silence look love of George normal voice Okanagan of Kamloops pasture Pause picking saskatoons rainbow trout real whites red-tailed hawk river-sound ROSE's scissors screams sewing shouting Shuswap Indian Shuswap language Shuswap of Kamloops sitting tablecloth talk tell there's thing Thompson of Kamloops Thompson River Valley Thrust tonight trout what's wild saskatoons Wilfrid Laurier women