November 23, 2008

The Trickster and the Troll

Lakota author examines heritage in operaLast Sunday's performance by the Heartland Opera Troupe ... was based on a story written by Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve, a Lakota author born on the Rosebud reservation and married to a Norwegian man.

Driving Hawk Sneve drew upon that mixture of Lakota and Norwegian to create the tale of the "Trickster and the Troll." One of my granddaughters had a part as a duck. That's how I came to be in the audience for an opera about how people sometimes lose themselves when they try to function in a modern world by leaving behind their heritage and the stories passed down from generation to generation. Whether Lakota or Norwegian, such people can find themselves without the foundation of history and culture and with little understanding of their past.

The trickster in Driving Hawk Sneve's story, Iktomi in the Lakota culture, often is depicted in oral tales as a crafty little dickens, up to no good and full of mischief. In this story, the character comes to represent the heritage and culture that many Lakota people rejected, sometimes willingly, often through the force of the majority culture.

The troll plays a similar role for the Norwegian family in the tale, a being that helps and protects a family until he is rejected as the younger generation moves to America and tries to establish a new life in a new land.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Native Plays and Other Stage Shows.

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