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Indigenous Voices

Week 2: Embodying Solidarity

If you have been to a Pangea World Theater production, you have stood with us as we acknowledge the land that we are working and living on. Just last week, we shared a video from our dear friend and board member Sharon Day about going beyond the land acknowledgement and further honoring the Indigenous people here in the Twin Cities and beyond.

The Indigenous Voices Series was created in 2001 to highlight the diverse, contemporary work of Indigenous theater and performance artists, in the Twin Cities and beyond. Indigenous Voices continues to bring local, national and international Indigenous artists to audiences in the Twin Cities. Over the years, Pangea has produced dozens of inspirational performances from around the country and we are honored to support the Indigenous agenda through the arts.

In November of 2021, we will be producing poet, playwright, and friend of Pangea Tom LaBlanc’s three-act play, Tatanka.

“For 25 years the world has been blessed with the magnificent artistry and creative flair of the Pangea World Theater. I am immensely privileged to have been part of this Pangea ensemble as a Dakota artist, poet, producer, actor and playwright including a lead role in Conference of the Birds, Indigenous Day performances, the Buffalo Show, and other endeavors. I am excited to announce in November 2021 Pangea World Theater will be producing my 3 act play, Tatanka, which is a Dakota historical drama from creation to contemporary times including Dakota singers, speakers, actors and live musicians with a mystical array of visual images directed by Dipankar Mukherjee.” Tom LaBlanc


As we look forward to future work like Tatanka, we look back on the expansive past of the Indigenous Voices program. We have crossed paths and collaborated with a multitude of inspiring and powerful Indigenous artists throughout our 25 years of work, including Joy Harjo at our National Institute for Directing and Ensemble Creation in 2015.

Here is just a small taste of the work in our

Indigenous Voices Program:

I Don’t Want to Play House is the story of playwright Tammy Anderson’s childhood and upbringing– a one-woman show about moving, changes, and growing up. Tammy Anderson, a proud Palawa woman, traveled from Australia and Pangea was honored to be able to present her piece, full of monologue, movement, and music, here in the Twin Cities.

Thanksgiving Give-Away: Keeping Traditions Alive was created by internationally acclaimed Cree-Saulteaux performing artist, Margo Kane, the Founder and Artistic and Managing Director of Full Circle: First Nations Performance. It begged the questions: “What do we give? Why do we give? And who are we giving to? What is the history of giving in Aboriginal societies? Are there older traditions still intact or have we lost sight of the authentic meaning of giving?” Thanksgiving Give-Away: Keeping Traditions Alive was a Pangea World Theater presentation, in collaboration with Intermedia Arts in 2003.

Curiosities by Heid Erdrich moved between centuries to reveal how much contemporary American Indian identity is determined by history from the 1800’s. The performance features dance, visual art, Ojibwa hymn singing, contemporary and traditional American Indian music and media to show how much the images of nearly 200 years ago haunt us today. This work is in honor of the Ojibwe men and women who died in Europe while traveling as “curiosities” on display and for American Indian artists and intellectuals who struggle with “performing Indian,” still today. This was a piece commissioned by Pangea in 2005, in collaboration with Intermedia Arts.

What would a polar bear say if he could talk? How does a small Indigenous Community fight a large multinational corporation that is intending to exploit its natural resources.? Calling All Polar Bears was a one-woman show by Inupaiq Eskimo Inter-Disciplinary Artist, Allison Warden, whose roots are from Kaktovik, Alaska, a village in the heart of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Pangea presented this show in 2011, in collaboration with Intermedia Arts.

Shaking Our Shells: Stories from On the Wings of Wadaduga, created & performed by

Qwo-Li Driskill, was a historiographical performance project that focused on revising archived and embodied Cherokee Two-Spirit / GLBTQ memories. Drawing on archival research and interviews, the one-person performance shared stories from Cherokee cultural memory about 2 GLBTQ people within the context of larger tactics for decolonization and continuance. Pangea presented this show in collaboration with RARE Productions, 20% Theatre Company, and Intermedia Arts in 2011.

The Missouri River Water Walk was a musical that chronicled a water walk from Three Forks, Montana to St. Louis, Missouri, written by Sharon Day and directed by Dipankar Mukherjee. Forgiveness is not a strong enough word for what happened when six women walked the length of the Missouri River. Performed this year, in 2021, at Hidden Falls Regional Park, this show was a beautiful and necessary gathering of community after over a year of distancing.

The 2019 Indigenous Voices Festival consisted of three “work-in-progress” staged readings, a youth ensemble performance, a roundtable discussion, and one touring production.Carolyn Dunn’s Soledad, Tom LaBlanc’s Tatanka, Sharon Day’s We Will Do it For The Water, and Ikidowin Youth Theater Ensemble’s Two Brothers were performed in the Pangea Studio. “Honoring Who?” a roundtable discussion on racism in sports was held in collaboration with NACDI, and Murielle Borst-Tarrant’s Don’t Feed the Indians: A Divine Comedy Pageant was performed at The Southern Theater.It was a beautiful month full of work from Indigenous artists from around the country.

Now as much as ever, we are honored to look back on all the inspiring work by our Indigenous community members and cannot wait to see it continue to grow and evolve. Thank you for being in community with us as the Indigenous Voices program continues to evolve and grow.


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