On Friday, November 1, the Merry-Go-Round Youth Theatre
visited the Byron-Bergen fourth grade classes with a special presentation for
Native American Heritage Month. Shane Heidecker, K. Cody Hunt, and Janna
Kozloski performed The Keeper’s Voice by
Rick Balin. It is an experiential theatre production in which the students act
as the Haudenosaunee people to educate two fictional visitors on the lives and
cultural traditions of the five nations in the mid-1800s.
The story is guided forward by Matilda Joslyn Gage, a
real-life scholar, suffragist, abolitionist, and Haudenosaunee ally who was
eventually adopted by the Mohawk Wolf Clan. In the play, the character of
Matilda brings a reporter and a college professor to a meeting of the five
nations to show how Haudenosaunee culture could influence the civil rights in
19th century United States culture.
During the presentation, the students discussed
Haudenosaunee cultural beliefs such as the advantages of peace among the
nations, having an active role in government, and equality.