By Marc Dadigan
Though a group of graduate students who led the protests against the play didn’t succeed in stopping the production, they did engage the university’s Department of Theater, Dance and Performance Studies (TDPS) in an ongoing dialogue.
This led to TDPS co-sponsoring an interactive Indigenous Peoples Day Celebration October 8 at the university that included elders from many tribes speaking about their people’s history and hopes, poetry, dancing and demonstrations in making baskets and acorn mush, important elements of many California tribes’ cultures.
“We wanted to do something that would start atoning for the Ishi play, and that would create awareness that there are Native students on campus and in the community who are still here,” said Peter Nelson, Coast Miwok, a graduate student in anthropology and Coast Miwok.
Below: "Julia Parker, Pomo/Coast Miwok, demonstrates to University of California, Berkeley students and community members how to make acorn mush." (Josh Hesslein)