BELIEF: Lives and Stories of Montana's Salish Women
BELIEF: Lives and Stories of Montana's Salish Women, a one-woman show featuring Salish tribal member, cultural historian, and actress Julie Cajune, will run at the historic Gene Frankel Theatre in New York City, from September 18-22. The theater is located at 24 Bond Street in Manhattan.
The play draws from Cajune's personal life experiences and the true stories of generations of the women in her family living on the Flathead Indian Reservation in Northwest Montana. The stories told in BELIEF present a rare opportunity for audiences to participate in a genuine cultural exchange, and to gain insight into the daily lives of people in a Native American community as they grapple with the human condition, as well as with the broader historical legacies and events of our time.
BELIEF originated seven years ago as an idea to weave music, story, and poetry to portray the lived experiences of Native women through theatre. The play was written by Cajune award-wining poet Jennifer Finley, and is directed by Linda Grinde.
BELIEF is a play with much to say about today's world. We enter this world wired for story, says Cajune. From childhood and throughout our life, story is the filter we use to make meaning to understand who we are. Story informs our identity and our place in the world. Story characterizes our relationship with our self, with others, and with the world. Daily we rely on story to communicate the profound, the humorous, the mundane and the exotic episodes of our lives.
The challenge before humankind today, she adds, is to find or build the bridge that connects us with one another and with the natural world. Indeed the two great crises of our generation are the failed relationship among us and the failed relationship with this beautiful world that gives us life each day. These challenges demand that which story nurtures: imagination, compassion, creativity and connection. Stories can embolden the heroes, the healers, the dreamers, the bridge builders and the truth tellers that we need at this moment.
BELIEF features an original music score created by pianist David Lanz, flutist Gary Stroutsos, and violinist Swil Kanim. Gary Stroutsos will appear live on stage with Julie Cajune for the New York performances.
About the Participants
Julie Cajune is a Salish educator who has been named one of the 50 visionaries who are changing your world by Utne Reader magazine. She was the creative force behind the audio and visual projects Remembering the Songs: Music Traditions from the Zuni, Navajo, and Salish and Heart of the Bitterroot: Voices of Salish and Pend d'Oreille Women. Cajune has dedicated herself to teaching accurate history of American Indians, challenging myth and stereotype along with the absence of authentic information about American Indian people.
Jennifer Finley is an award-winning poet and journalist who has also become a playwright. She has authored two books of poetry and one children's book. Her first collection of poems won the North American Native Authors First Book award for poetry. She is Salish and Chippewa-Cree and is an enrolled member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.
Linda Grinde has served as theatre consultant for a plan to create an indigenous theatre festival on the Flathead Indian Reservation. She directed the premiere production Moon Over Mission Dam, and directed four readings for the first Native American Playwrights Festival in Arlee, Montana. Grinde recently directed Prison Boxing, an original award- winning one-woman show that ran for two months at the Skylight Theatre in Los Angeles.
David Lanz is a Grammy-nominated pianist who has enthralled music lovers around the world for decades with his engaging playing style and original compositions. A top instrumental recording and concert artist, he has reached worldwide prominence with his number one Billboard hit, Cristofori's Dream.
Gary Stroutsos performs world flute music drawn from many traditional cultures, creating odysseys of sound with the world of nature. Evoking a spirit of place and the voices of the land, his work includes internationally acclaimed recordings at sacred sites, using the unique acoustics and history of each great space as the starting point for musical exploration.
Swil Kanim, a member of the Lummi Nation, is a classically trained violinist, Native storyteller and actor. Because of his unique ability to inspire audiences to express themselves honorably, he is a sought-after keynote speaker for conferences, workshops, school assemblies, and rehabilitation centers. His workshops, The Elements of Honor, are attended by people from all walks of life.
Gene Frankel Theater (View)
28 Bond Street
New York City, MT 10012