Saskatoon

'Indigenous women are reclaiming their rightful spots': Sask. play shines light on Lakota hero

The Lakota creation story of the white buffalo is centuries old, but some say its messages are more important than ever.

Stories in Time: PTE' SA WIN, a rendition of the white buffalo creation story, to be performed Saturday

Cast members of Stories in Time: PTE’ SA WIN rehearse this week. The play starts Saturday evening at 7:00 p.m. CST at Saskatoon's Broadway Theatre. (Jason Warick/CBC)

The Lakota creation story of the white buffalo is centuries old, but some say its messages are more important than ever.

Ptesanwin — or White Buffalo Calf Woman —  is one of the sacred creation stories told by the Lakota people. Stories in Time: PTE' SA WIN, a play based on the story, is being performed on stage Saturday night as part of Saskatoon's Winterruption festival.

Choreographer Chante Speidel said she hopes the crowd will learn about Lakota history, but her main goal is to inspire by reviving the story of a strong, heroic Indigenous woman.

"For those small Indigenous girls in the crowd, this is their way of saying,  'Let's do this. Let's be powerful. Let's be exactly what Ptesanwin represents and all that she is,'" Speidel said.

She said the public is learning about the plight of missing and murdered Indigenous women and their over-representation in Canada's prisons, but that Indigenous women are also rising up and overcoming barriers.

Stories in Time: PTE’ SA WIN tells the Lakota creation story of the White Buffalo Calf Woman. The play runs Saturday night at Saskatoon's Broadway Theatre as part of the WInterruption Festival. (Jason Warick/CBC)

"Indigenous women are reclaiming their rightful spots, taking places of power again in their communities and elsewhere," she said.

Before and during production, the cast and crew consulted extensively with elders and spiritual leaders. This included a 19th-generation pipe carrier from the U.S., said artistic director Don Speidel.

Speidel said it was important to tell this story, particularly with all the divisions in modern society.

"It relates to climate change. It refers to creating peace and harmony among all nations, not to live in bloodshed and war but to actually live in common unity," he said.

The play was last performed 20 years ago in Saskatoon during the opening of the Saskatoon Tribal Council's White Buffalo Youth Lodge. Speidel said they were encouraged to bring it back.

The curtain rises for Stories in Time: PTE' SA WIN at 7:00 p.m. CST Saturday at the Broadway Theatre.

About the Author

Jason Warick

Reporter

Jason Warick is a reporter with CBC Saskatoon.