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Eastern Shawnee Interpreter Talon Silverhorn Holds Community Conversation In Xenia

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Chris Welter
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WYSO
American Indian Interpreter Talon Silverhorn speaks with attendees under a covered pavilion at a community conversation in Xenia

Over the weekend, Greene County Parks & Trails and Caesar's Ford Theatre Inc. hosted a community conversation with American Indian interpreter Talon Silverhorn.

Silverhorn is a citizen of the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma. He grew up on the territory of the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma and now works as an Interpreter at Colonial Williamsburg, a living-history museum in Virginia.

Historically, the Ohio River Valley was the Shawnee’s homeland until they were forcibly removed from their land by settlers and the United States Government in the 19th century. Silverhorn is a direct descendant of Shawnee Chief Weyapiersenwah (also known in English as Chief Blue Jacket).

Silverhorn spoke for two hours with dozens of attendees at Caesar Ford Park in Xenia about Native American identity and history, cultural appropriation, and colonization.

“Most commonly people are asking questions about our past. Keep asking questions about our future. Keep asking questions about what we want to do. Not what we did. Alright?" He said, "And keep learning more about the native people here in the United States, because we do have things to offer to the rest of the world.”

Silverhorn also played his self-made black walnut drone flute for the crowd.

"Drone flute means that it has two sound chambers, but only one of them plays notes." Silverhorn said "so the other one is just the bottom note which harmonizes with the rest of the notes."

Silverhorn was one of the several actors who traveled to the Miami valley this past weekend to shoot a virtual outdoor drama called Caesar's Redemption at Caesar Ford Park. Before the pandemic, the outdoor drama was supposed to be held at the newly renovated 1,400 seat amphitheater in the park.

The newly renovated Caesar Ford Amphitheater in Xenia, the outdoor drama "Blue Jacket" played here from the 80's until 2007
Chris Welter
The newly renovated Caesar Ford Amphitheater in Xenia, the outdoor drama "Blue Jacket" played here from the 80's until 2007

The drama is about a Black slave named Caesar who was captured by the Shawnee in the 18th century on a raid along the Ohio River.

Caesar’s Redemption is the first part of Caesar’s Ford Theatre, Inc’s “Virtual Performance Project.” The non-profit professional theatre company was formed following the bankruptcy of the Blue Jacket theater group in 2007, which oversaw the outdoor drama Bluejacket at the old Caesar Ford amphitheater. Caesar's Redemption is set to be released in November.

Environmental reporter Chris Welter is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.