By Christina Rose
The new version of the play was reviewed and while there have been changes, some of the original problems still exist.
ICTNM’s previous reporting of this story raised the ire of activists and provoked strong emotions in Terry Marie Varela, a Sacramento resident and enrolled Oglala Lakota, who is a member of the San Francisco Idle No More. She has set up a Facebook page for the protest called Raising Our Voices Against Native Exploitation.
Varela was most offended by Crazy Horse’s repeated reference to Lakota ways as superstitions.
The new version of the script no longer references Lakota ways as superstitions, but it still speaks condescendingly of the Lakota people. By saying things like, “We fought foolishly as always.” Crazy Horse and the Lakota are referred to as “savages” by Custer, which surely reflects Custer’s language. However, there is little balance in historical facts from a Lakota perspective and the misrepresentation of spirituality is rife even throughout the new script.
Tom Gillies, a Sacramento man, attended a preview of the show and said, “The author was lazy.”
At the end of the play, Crazy Horse calls Custer, “A compelling man,” giving him more respect than he has shown his own people throughout the show.
“The whole play was bookended by a bad feeling at the beginning and at the end,” Gillies said. “I went in there with a neutral view, and I wanted to be convinced it wasn’t a piece of crap, and it was.”
In Which I Go See "Crazy Horse And Custer" So You Don't Have To--a play review (-- for Crazy Horse --)
By Cutcha Risling Baldy
I went to see the play “Crazy Horse and Custer” at the Sacramento Theatre Company on November 6, 2013. The play was still in preview. I bought my own ticket. I had an open mind. The theatre people were nice enough to hold the start of the show to wait for us as we came running through the doors. I sat next to my good friends in an uncomfortable seat and the theater was intimate, the space was interesting, the mood was excited. The lights dimmed, the music started, I sat through two full hours… and in the end I must say, in all honesty, I left--offended.
And an even more significant problem is that we go through two acts of this play and there is very little, if any (I can’t think of any) mention of the genocide of Native peoples. We hear from the beginning about the mutilation of white soldiers at Little Big Horn by Lakota people, but nothing about the murdering, raping, torturing, starving, war against Indian peoples.
And he says “The Lakota are finally defeated.”
Before he turns his back on us and mutters. “It is better to be dead.”
It is better to be dead.
Did this play, did this author, did Crazy Horse just tell me, a living, breathing, singing, dancing, loving, laughing, joking, mothering Native woman that it is better to be dead than the Native person that I am? Did Crazy Horse just tell me, he would rather be dead, than to be a part of the living, breathing, singing, dancing, loving, laughing, joking, mothering, fathering, grandparenting, Lakota people?
Below: The playwright's note.