May 09, 2010

Cherokee play about warrior woman

Cherokee National Theatre Company awarded Smithsonian fundingCherokee National Theatre Company announced on April 27 that it is one of four recipients of an Expressive Arts Program grant funded by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian.

CNTC President Roy Hamilton the company was awarded the grant to prepare for and create a new American Indian play. He said he would collaborate with co-playwrights Rebecca Hobbs and Nick Sweet to bring “Nanyehi Beloved Woman of the Cherokee” to a wide audience. Hamilton and Hobbs are Cherokee Nation citizens.

Nanyehi is the true story of Cherokee Beloved Woman Nancy Ward. After her husband Kingfisher died in battle, she took up his fight and led the Cherokee to victory over the Creek tribe. She became a Warrior Woman, a Beloved Woman and a Cherokee leader. She advocated for peace during the American Revolutionary War, corresponded with Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin and became a prominent figure in Cherokee history.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Native Plays and Other Stage Shows.


Anonymous said...

Wasn't Nancy Ward the first Cherokee woman to own a slave? Is that in the play?

Rob said...

I don't know if that will be in the play. Here's more about it:

Another aspect of Cherokee life that changed when Ward saved the life of Mrs. Bean was that of raising animals. The white woman owned dairy cattle, which she took to Ward's house. Ward learned to prepare and use dairy foods, which provided some nourishment even when hunting was bad. However, because of Ward's introduction of dairy farming to the Cherokee, they would begin to amass large herds and farms, which required even more manual labor. This would soon lead the Cherokee into using slave labor. In fact, Ward herself had been "awarded" the black slave of a felled Creek warrior after her victory at the Battle of Taliwa and thus became the first Cherokee slave owner.

Rob said...

So the Cherokee owned slaves for about a century. In other words, it was not a fundamental part of their culture. That's good to know.

For more on the subject, see Slave-Owning in Trail of Tears.