Mascot issues explored through Willamette Day performance

by University Communications,

American Indian mascot issues will be addressed through this year’s Willamette Day performance.

The one-woman play, “KICK,” is a part of Willamette’s Indian Country Conversations Series. Free and open to the public, the performance will take place Feb. 1 at 7 p.m. in the Mary Stuart Rogers Music Center of Hudson Hall.

The play explores racial stereotyping through the eyes of Grace Greene, a Native American high school student who decides to take a stand against her school's “brave” mascot.

Anthropology professor Rebecca Dobkins says that the interactive performance aims at exploring ideas and encouraging audience discussion.

“In showing a play like this at Willamette, we help deepen our community's understanding of why the 2012 ban by the Oregon Board of Education on the use of Indian mascots in public schools is so vital,” Dobkins says. “'KICK' star Delanna Studi is one of the nation’s leading Native American actors, and is deeply committed to conversation about social justice issues with diverse communities.”

Studi is a Cherokee actress from Los Angeles who has worked frequently with the Native Voices Theatre Co. In November 2003, she won the Best Supporting Actress Award at the 28th Annual American Indian Film Institute Festival for her role in the ABC/Hallmark mini-series, “Dreamkeeper.”

The Indian Country Conversations Series was established in 2005 to bring Native American guests to campus for dialogue, teaching and learning. The series is sponsored by Willamette's Office of the President and College of Liberal Arts. Professor Dobkins coordinates the event in consultation with the university's community-based Native American Advisory Council.