Citation

Cherokee Casting Call: Tribal Sovereignty and Theater

Abstract | Word Stems | Keywords | Association | Citation | Get this Document | Similar Titles



Abstract:

My research focuses on tourism in Cherokee, North Carolina, and the performance of history and memory as they relate to the reinvention of the outdoor drama, Unto These Hills. A smashing success at its debut in 1950, the drama saw shrinking attendance in the 1970s and 1980s until its status as the primary tourist draw was usurped by Harrah’s Cherokee Casino in 1997. By 2004 the Cherokee Historical Association (CHA), the white-dominated organization that owned and operated the drama, was nearly bankrupt and finally ceded full control of its operations to members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI). Inheriting a financial disaster, the Cherokee chose to salvage this local institution by completely overhauling the show. Among the problems with the old Unto These Hills were numerous cultural and historical inaccuracies including the mythologization of Tsali, a minor historical figure whose martyrdom drove the plot. However, for most Cherokee I talked to the drama’s historical inaccuracies were not a “major problem.” Instead most identified the fact that almost all lead roles were played by non-Indians as the greatest fault. Now empowered by Cherokee management since 2004, how do contemporary Cherokee performers experience the drama as an opportunity to work and grow as artists?
This paper focuses on the auditions for the 2006 season of Unto These Hills… a Retelling, the first casting call for a new version of the drama. At this time tribal members knew little of what to expect, their primary source of information regarding the new drama was the circulation of gossip. This lack of information resulted in a tremendous outpouring of interest from tribal members with hundreds showing up to audition for only a few dozen roles just to find out what was going on. At the same time the drama production staff, while all Native Americans of different tribes, were seasoned professionals from New York and Hollywood who had little experience in dealing with the Eastern Band Cherokee. In the ensuing cross-cultural miscommunication it was revealed that few Cherokee expected or wished to be anything other than members of crowd scenes, their traditional role in the formerly white-dominated show. For the production staff all were surprised to find that the majority of Cherokee were financially motivated to perform in the drama. My paper asks, as post-industrial economies in the contemporary United States normalize both service sector work and the commodificaiton of culture, how might anthropology consider the commercial production of cultural difference as a kind of labor?
Convention
All Academic Convention is the premier solution for your association's abstract management solutions needs.
Submission - Custom fields, multiple submission types, tracks, audio visual, multiple upload formats, automatic conversion to pdf.Review - Peer Review, Bulk reviewer assignment, bulk emails, ranking, z-score statistics, and multiple worksheets!
Reports - Many standard and custom reports generated while you wait. Print programs with participant indexes, event grids, and more!Scheduling - Flexible and convenient grid scheduling within rooms and buildings. Conflict checking and advanced filtering.
Communication - Bulk email tools to help your administrators send reminders and responses. Use form letters, a message center, and much more!Management - Search tools, duplicate people management, editing tools, submission transfers, many tools to manage a variety of conference management headaches!
Click here for more information.

Association:
Name: The American Studies Association
URL:
http://www.theasa.net


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p185928_index.html
Direct Link:
HTML Code:

MLA Citation:

Thompson, Matthew. "Cherokee Casting Call: Tribal Sovereignty and Theater" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the The American Studies Association, Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, Philadelphia, PA, Oct 11, 2007 <Not Available>. 2013-12-15 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p185928_index.html>

APA Citation:

Thompson, M. D. , 2007-10-11 "Cherokee Casting Call: Tribal Sovereignty and Theater" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the The American Studies Association, Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, Philadelphia, PA <Not Available>. 2013-12-15 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p185928_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Abstract: My research focuses on tourism in Cherokee, North Carolina, and the performance of history and memory as they relate to the reinvention of the outdoor drama, Unto These Hills. A smashing success at its debut in 1950, the drama saw shrinking attendance in the 1970s and 1980s until its status as the primary tourist draw was usurped by Harrah’s Cherokee Casino in 1997. By 2004 the Cherokee Historical Association (CHA), the white-dominated organization that owned and operated the drama, was nearly bankrupt and finally ceded full control of its operations to members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI). Inheriting a financial disaster, the Cherokee chose to salvage this local institution by completely overhauling the show. Among the problems with the old Unto These Hills were numerous cultural and historical inaccuracies including the mythologization of Tsali, a minor historical figure whose martyrdom drove the plot. However, for most Cherokee I talked to the drama’s historical inaccuracies were not a “major problem.” Instead most identified the fact that almost all lead roles were played by non-Indians as the greatest fault. Now empowered by Cherokee management since 2004, how do contemporary Cherokee performers experience the drama as an opportunity to work and grow as artists?
This paper focuses on the auditions for the 2006 season of Unto These Hills… a Retelling, the first casting call for a new version of the drama. At this time tribal members knew little of what to expect, their primary source of information regarding the new drama was the circulation of gossip. This lack of information resulted in a tremendous outpouring of interest from tribal members with hundreds showing up to audition for only a few dozen roles just to find out what was going on. At the same time the drama production staff, while all Native Americans of different tribes, were seasoned professionals from New York and Hollywood who had little experience in dealing with the Eastern Band Cherokee. In the ensuing cross-cultural miscommunication it was revealed that few Cherokee expected or wished to be anything other than members of crowd scenes, their traditional role in the formerly white-dominated show. For the production staff all were surprised to find that the majority of Cherokee were financially motivated to perform in the drama. My paper asks, as post-industrial economies in the contemporary United States normalize both service sector work and the commodificaiton of culture, how might anthropology consider the commercial production of cultural difference as a kind of labor?

Get this Document:

Find this citation or document at one or all of these locations below. The links below may have the citation or the entire document for free or you may purchase access to the document. Clicking on these links will change the site you're on and empty your shopping cart.

Associated Document Available Access Fee All Academic Inc.


Similar Titles:
The Capital of Cultural Authenticity in the Sovereignty of Tribal Disenrollments

Tribal Sovereignty and Development in the Post-IGRA Era: Lessons from Tribal Government Gaming in New Mexico

The Indigenous Offshore: Tribal Sovereignty and Alternative Developments


 
All Academic, Inc. is your premier source for research and conference management. Visit our website, www.allacademic.com, to see how we can help you today.