By Charla Bear
The anxiety has also affected children, who’ve had a tough time putting Williams’ death in perspective.
This coming weekend, a local theater group will debut a performance to help young Native Americans move forward, starting with a look at the past.
In the play, A Right to Justice, 17-year-old Dylan Elwood plays Chief Leschi, who led the Nisqually tribe until he was put on trial for killing a white soldier in the mid 1800s.
Leschi was hanged to death and labeled a war criminal in history books. That’s until 2004, when a historical court unanimously ruled it was wrong to try him for murdering an enemy soldier during wartime.
Elwood says the Chief Leschi story parallels what happened to John T. Williams:
Below: "Young Native American actors portray prisoners in the Red Eagle Soaring production, A Right To Justice. The play aims to help youth work out their feelings about police since Ian Birk, a former Seattle officer, shot woodcarver John T. Williams." (Charla Bear/KPLU)