TOP STORY HMTC This Week HMTC This Week: Indigenous voices will be heard Silvia Gonzalez Scherer Sep 3, 2021 Silvia Gonzalez Scherer
Years ago, I lived in Oregon. I became affiliated with The Confederate Tribes of Warm Springs, which is home to three tribes: The Warm Springs, Wasco, and Paiute. The Warm Springs and Wasco tribes originated from the Columbia River. The Northern Paiute originally come from southern Oregon. I had the honor to work there with a playwright workshop supported by a grant from the Oregon Arts Council.
Our workshop was at their beautiful and architecturally gorgeous museum. The Museum at Warm Springs is just off highway 26. Their catch phrase “Celebrating our Heritage-Remembering our past” made an impression on me. So did their oral history which is a great big part of their culture.
I started my workshop with ten writers. I was delighted it was multigenerational. We wrote together for an hour and shared our work with each other. The creative collective was inspiring. It is my opinion that when you put a room with creative people, the creative energy is high voltage. This creative energy is felt all around the room and it injects everyone with inspiration.
Some of the works created became part of a Warm Springs newsletter. The rest were exhibited in a show in full regalia. The themes of the collective writings were varied and beautiful. To this day, some of the images created there are still with me. There is no doubt in my mind that the indigenous people are natural story tellers.
Remembering that experience, and now living two miles from the Tachi-Yokut tribe, I wondered about doing the same type of writer’s workshop. Actually, I have wondered for ten years. It was only this year I made an application to relive that indigenous writer experience in Oregon. On August 4 HMTC received the California Arts Council Impact Grant to do an Indigenous Writer’s Workshop.
Specifically, “Impact Projects grants support arts organizations for collaborations between local artist(s) and community members to develop and express their own creative and artistic goals and address a community-defined need.” HMTC is delighted to be one of 98 awarded this grant in California.
HMTC is the only entity that received this award in Kings-Kern County. Two were awarded in neighboring Fresno.
We are looking for those who would like to partake in this writer’s workshop that have indigenous stories or have heard of stories passed down to them that reflect the indigenous community. We are aware that stories are fading and more so with Covid-19. Yet, there are more stories to tell, especially the younger who have complex issues with poverty, educational disparities, health and racial injustice and systemic racism. Mesh these stories with mother earth, stories generations-old, and family dynamics and it will yield incredible and important stories. Stories that must be presented, appreciated on stage, and preserved.
Nurturing artists is HMTC’s goal. We desire to hear these voices and so does the community. This is a great opportunity for our area.
If you are interested, or you know of people who have stories, call us. This is a great opportunity for novices, semi-skilled, and skilled writers to have their work speak.
We can be reached at 559-997-3838 or email us at info@HanfordMTC.com
Silvia Gonzalez Scherer
Executive Artistic Director
August 29, 2021