Caesar's Ford Theatre hosts local events for ‘Shawnee Living History Tour’ fundraiser
The non-profit, whose mission is to tell historically accurate stories with actors who are citizens of federally recognized tribes, is in the middle of a fundraising campaign to launch the living history tour next year. They hope this month’s events will help with their fundraising goal.
Logan York (The Miami Tribe of Oklahoma) is on the Caesar’s Ford Board and is Deputy Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the Miami Tribe. He is featured in his organization’s documentary “Haato hiiniikaanaakii” (translated from the Shawnee language to “Hello, My Friends” in English) that premieres at the film showcase at the Little Art Theatre in Yellow Springs at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 24.
“Haato hiiniikaanaakii” has footage from a weekend of programming last year at George Rogers Clark park in Clark County. York said the film highlights the importance of bringing citizens from federally recognized tribes back to Ohio to share their perspectives.
“Something that was really good was for people to actually be able to have discourse with Native peoples who are experts in the field of history,” York said. “But while also talking to us about contemporary issues and what our traditional homelands mean to us today.”
Caesar’s Ford Theatre will hold its Shawnee Living History Tour stage reading the weekend before the showcase at the Xenia Area Community Theatre on Saturday, May 20 at 7 p.m. and the next day Sunday, May 21 at 2 p.m.
It's a preview of the Living History Tour Caesar’s Ford is planning to debut next year. Actors in 18th century costuming will take participants to various sites in the Miami Valley using vignettes to re-enact the region’s history.
Caesar’s Ford Theatre Board Vice President Jeremy Turner (The Shawnee Tribe) has done historical interpretation and acting for more than twenty years. He said his organization is committed to only hiring actors who are citizens of federally recognized tribes to represent indigenous people for their productions.
“For far too long, all over the East, and particularly in Ohio, non-American Indian people have tried to portray themselves as American Indians,” Turner said. “They have basically capitalized on telling our history in an inaccurate way, and with many stereotypes.”
Actors will be in full, accurate eighteenth century costuming for the stage reading. Turner will play Blackfish.
Chris Welter is a reporter and corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms.