Proceedings of the International Conference on Social science, Humanities and Education
THE UNSTABLE DEVELOPMENT OF CONTEMPORARY NATIVE AMERICAN THEATER: SITES OF CONFLICT AND DISCUSSION
Sidoní López Pérez
This essay provides a concise overview of the sites of conflict and discussion that affect contemporary Native American theater. To this effect, the paper will first explore the issue of Eurocentrism versus Nativism in order to reflect the long and difficult history of development of indigenous theater. After this initial approach, the much-discussed debate about the origins of Native drama will also be examined by focusing on two clearly distinct perspectives. In like manner, the chronological discussion about the emergence of contemporary American Indian theater will be addressed so as to review the different dates provided by several authors and scholars. Finally, the essay will explore the controversy about the geographical, political and cultural boundaries of the genre and will likewise conclude with a brief overview of the Native theater scene today with its initiatives and obstacles. As will be demonstrated, although Native American theater has a long and complex history, a great number of theater plays and a significant body of scholarship, the genre still does not enjoy a confident development, and obviously more work is needed to unleash its full potential.
Keywords: development; drama; indigenous; oral tradition; performance.