"Strike them hard!" The Baker Massacre play

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Big Head, Ramona
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Education
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Faculty of Education, 2009
The oral tradition of story-telling among the Blackfoot is still strong. However, in order to keep the tradition alive for future generations, educators are beginning to step outside the box to allow for innovative ways to bring the stories back to life for students. By writing a play about the 1870 Baker Massacre, and staging it with Blackfoot students from the Kainai Board of Education school system, I have successfully found another way to engage First Nation students from Kindergarten through grade 12. This is the first time the story of the Baker Massacre has been told from the perspective of Blackfoot children. A good portion of the research was taken from oral accounts of actual descendents of the survivors of the massacre. Most of the survivors were young children, including my great-great grandmother, Holy Bear Woman. The Baker Massacre became a forgotten and lost story. However, by performing this play to an audience of approximately 1000 over the course of six performances, including a debut performance in New York City, there is a good chance that this story will not fall into obscurity again. The process of researching, writing and staging this play also had a major impact on my own personal healing and well-being. I lost my oldest daughter to suicide in 2006. The historical trauma of the Baker Massacre triggered my own personal trauma of my daughter’s suicide. However, as painful as the process was, I gained a new-found strength to continue on with my own healing journey. The personal narrative that accompanies this play honours the process of playwriting, while the play celebrates the product. The play is about the resiliency of the ancestors of the Blackfoot. By sharing their story, my hope is that our Aboriginal children today will recognize that they come from a powerful ancestry who never gave up.
viii, 126 leaves ; 28 cm. --
Siksika -- Montana -- History -- Drama , Massacres -- Montana -- History -- 19th century -- Drama , Indigenous peoples -- Montana -- History -- Drama , Marias Massacre, Montana, 1870 -- Drama