In the Sicangu Lakota playwright Larissa FastHorse’s piece The Thanksgiving Play, a white theatre educator, Logan, receives diversity grants to tell the true story of Thanksgiving in an elementary school production. Through the devising process, Logan seeks recognition of her “wokeness” in an effort to absolve white liberalism’s original sin of land theft and attempted Native genocide. When she uses the grant to hire a Native American actress, who turns out to play Native American and not be Native American, the play within a play begins to combust. The plot moves through a series of dead ends, staging the problems of settler colonial violence through the very impasse that is white guilt and racial representation. Moving from an analysis of the play’s final scene, where the four white characters stare at the “nothingness” they have produced, I explore how The Thanksgiving Play stages representation (and theatre writ large) as part of the crises of white supremacy and white possession.


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pp. 39-52
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