March 13, 2011

Tombs of the Vanishing Indian reviewed

Play Review:  Tombs of the Vanishing Indian

Touching tale of Native sisters

By John Coulbourn
Of all the ways mankind has found to victimize his fellow man, genocide is perhaps the most enduring, revisiting its victims with the birth (or lack of it) of every subsequent generation.

For proof, look to research conducted by a Native American museum in California, which showed that 94% of its clientele came to see a people that no longer existed.

That it was a vanished people patrons were coming to see and not a vanishing way of life spoke volumes to playwright Marie Clements, who was thus challenged to examine in microcosm some of the ways in which North America's indigenous population has been systematically reduced to a point where too many people believe it not longer exists at all.

Her play is called Tombs of the Vanishing Indian and it had its world premiere Thursday, a joint presentation of Native Earth Performing Arts and red diva projects, at Buddies in Bad Times.

Set in and around Los Angeles toward the middle of the last century, it tells the tragic story of three Native sisters, brought to the coast by a loving mother in search of a better life for her children.

Instead, she finds a society that thinks it knows, far better than she, how to give those children that better life--and the three sisters suddenly find themselves orphaned and alone, wards of a system that sees them as problems rather than as people.
Comment:  The 94% statistic reminds me of the 70% Think Indians Are Extinct statistic. It really seems that most Americans think Indians have vanished.

For more on the subject, see Preview of Tombs of the Vanishing Indian.


Anonymous said...

I read a study that showed foreigners know more about Indians than Americans. Not surprising.

dmarks said...

"I read a study that showed foreigners know more about Indians than Americans. Not surprising."

It might depend on the place. Europeans knowing more, East Asians knowing less.