Footpaths & Bridges: Voices from the Native American Women Playwrights Archive

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Shirley Huston-Findley, Rebecca Howard
University of Michigan Press, 2008 - Literary Criticism - 291 pages
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"Long overdue, this powerful collection allows Native American women to speak in their own voices---in a wide range of writing styles and covering a broad array of themes."
---Kathy A. Perkins, University of Illinois

Footpaths and Bridgescelebrates the vitality and diversity of Native American women, collecting plays by leading contemporary playwrights in forms ranging from realism to dramatic poetry, from a children's story to a musical, and from full-length plays to one-acts. The collection represents the best of a burgeoning theatrical movement, with work ranging fromETHNOSTRESS---a humorous take on art and identity politics---to the biographical musicalTe Atato a retelling of the Thanksgiving story from the Wampanoag perspective. The work of these award-winning playwrights is accompanied by critical commentary that illuminates Native American women's theater practices and perspectives, highlighting the issues of heritage, identity, and changing lifestyles that the plays imaginatively tackle.

Featuring work from a wide array of tribes and geographic regions, the collection affords the artist, scholar, and general reader access to previously unheard voices that communicate the complexity and the diversity of the Native American experience. The far-ranging genres and content of the plays suggest the many possibilities for communicating the past and the present, the personal and the political, and the stunning kaleidoscope of Native American life and art.

Shirley A. Huston-Findley is Associate Professor of Theatre at the College of Wooster.

Rebecca Howard is Instructor of Women's Studies at Miami University.

Photo: Set from production of JudyLee Oliva'sTe Ataat the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, 2006. Set design by Robert Cothran; photo by Michael Bendure.

Plays in the collection include

  • ETHNOSTRESS: Women's Voices in Native American Theatreby Monique Mojica
  • Asivak's Creation Storyby Jules Arita Koostachin with Jennifer Fell Hayes
  • Bring the Children Homeby Marcie Rendon
  • The Girl Who Swam Foreverby Marie Clements
  • Harvest Ceremony: Beyond the Thanksgiving Mythby Martha Kreipe de Montaņo with Jennifer Fell Hayes
  • Lettersby Denise Mosley
  • Ola Nä Iwi (The Bones Live)by Victoria Nalani Kneubuhl
  • Strength of Indian Womenby Vera Manuel
  • Te Ataby JudyLee Oliva
  • Winnetou's Snake Oil Show from Wigwam Cityby Spiderwoman Theater

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Womens Voices in Native American Theatre
Asivaks Creation Story English and Swampy Cree Versions

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About the author (2008)

Rebecca Howard is a member of the South Bristol Arts group which puts on small exhibitions around South Bristol, many of the venues being houses, which are opened up to the public for one weekend. After completing an art degree, she illustrates and currently works part-time for Windmill Hill City Farm.

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