Murielle Borst-Tarrant (Playwright) - Performer and Director. Kuna/ Rappahannock Nations. Author, playwright, director, producer, cultural artist, educator, and human rights activist. Author of the Fantasy series “ The Star Medicine” She also works on the deconstructing of methods of the arts in Native communities in urban areas across the country, Canada, and in the New York City education system. She also consults many urban and non- urban universities on the development on Native theater programming. Nominated for the Rockefeller grant in 2001, won a Native Heart Award and was the only Native American Women to have her work to be selected by the Olympic Games in Sydney Australia at the Sydney Opera House for her one woman show “ More than Feathers and Beads”. She served as the Special Assistant and liaison to Tonya Gonnella Frichner the North American Regional representative to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. Directed Muriel Miquel “Red Mother” nationally and Internationally. Keynote Speaker for the Indigenous Women’s Symposium at Trent University. Global Indigenous Woman’s Caucus Chair ( North America ) in 2013 to May of 2014. Recently selected to speak on Repetition, Tradition and Change: Native oral history and contemporary art practice in hostel post- colonial times at the International Conference at the Muthesius Academy of Art in Kiel Germany and the Norwegian Theater Academy. Named by Anne Hamilton in American Theatre Magazine as one of the influential women in American Theater. Director of Safe Harbors Indigenous Arts/ Theater Collective at La MaMa Theatre.
Penny Couchie (Asst. Director) - (Anishinaabe) is a dancer, actor, teacher and choreographer from Nipissing First Nation, Ontario. She holds an Honors BA in Aboriginal Studies and Drama from the University of Toronto and is a graduate of The School of Toronto Dance Theatre. Penny has performed as a dancer and theatre artist in principal roles both nationally and internationally. She has guest taught at universities and colleges throughout Canada and the US, including the Centre for Indigenous Theatre, where she has been a faculty member since 1998. From 1998 to 2003 she participated in the Aboriginal Dance Project at the Banff Centre for the Arts as a student, choreographer and teacher. Her most recent choreography includes the premiere of Dances of Resistance, Aanmitaagzi’s multi-year community-engaged dance theatre project, Material Witness, a co-production between Aanmitaagzi and Spiderwoman theatre, her latest full length dance theatre work, When Will You Rage? at the Capitol Centre, North Bay, Ontario, Common Ground and You Promised, I Lied, directed by Muriel Miguel for the Centre for Indigenous Theatre; Like An Old Tale and A Bridge of One Hair for Jumblies Theatre, Toronto; Manaabekwe, a co-choreography with Christine Friday O’Leary at the Temagami Gathering in Bear Island, Ontario. In 2001, she co-founded Earth in Motion World Indigenous Dance with Alejandro Ronceria, a dance collective committed to the creation of compelling and innovative new dance works, based in Toronto, Ontario. In 2007 she co-founded Aanmitaagzi, an Aboriginal professional multi-arts company specializing in community engaged arts based in her home of Nipissing First Nation, Ontario.
Kevin Tarrant (Musical Director) - Hochunk/Hopi Nations. The SilverCloud Singers are an intertribal Native American singing & dance troupe weaving the traditional with the contemporary of Native song & dance. SilverCloud was founded in 1991 and takes its name in tribute of Josephine Mofsie Tarrant, the mother of founding member Kevin Tarrant. The singers of SilverCloud come from many tribes, and from many parts of the U.S and Canada. The group was started with the intention of using traditional methods of Native culture as a means to educate through song and dance. And mentoring Native youth through culture in New York City and the country. National Museum of the American Indian, Princeton University, Gloucester College, George Mason University, Columbia University, Yale University, Baruch College, Staten Island College, U-Mass at Amherst, American Museum of Natural History, Whitney Art Museum, Speed Art Museum, Cincinnati Art Museum, United Nations, The Apollo, Roseland, the Theater at Madison Square Garden, Trinity Church, The Cathedral of St. John the Divine, the American Indian College Fund Flame of Hope Gala, The Public Theater, Theater for the New City, LaMaMa Theater In addition to their nationals and international tours they also worked with Robbie Robertson and Ulali on the soundtrack for the TNT network series "Native Americans" including opening for Midnight Oil and Joan Osborne at the Ritz as part of Earth Day celebrations held in Los Angeles and New York City in March 1993.
Nicholson Billey (Choreographer/Performer)- Choctaw/ Delaware/ Creek. MA, RDT, LCAT
Began his dance training in 1981 at the University of Oklahoma and performed with the OU Modern Dance Company. A BFA in Dance Pedagogy in 1984 followed by two years of MFA modern dance pedagogy work with the OU MFA modern dance program and served as a modern dance graduate teaching assistant. And worked in musical theater. Performed and trained with Battery Dance Company, Soundance, Cecchetti ballet instructor, Janet Pancetta, Joy Kellman in Horton Technique, James Adlesic, Miriam Ross, Joy Kellman. He created Drum Lives, an HIV/AIDS education performance piece. Drum Lives portrayed Native American character in roles that addressed the fear, conflict, injustice, and alienation that the then HIV/AIDS epidemic was generating in many Native American communities. Drum Lives was the initial performance in the US to utilize performance - drumming, dance and acting, to educate Native Americans about HIV and AIDs. Drum Lives was performed at Native American conferences such as the National CHR Conference in Oklahoma City; a Red Cross / Native American prevention conference in Seattle; to Native American youth in Phoenix, AZ and Mashpee, MA; and on reservations in Montana and Minnesota. Nic also toured with the Canadian Native Arts Foundation’s In The Land Of The Spirits in 1992. He began training as a drama therapist in 1996 at New York University and obtained his MFA in Drama Therapy.
Post-graduate training at the Institute for Arts in Psychotherapy in the Developmental Transformation modality which he supplements with various other drama therapy methods.
He has been working with Murielle Borst-Tarrant since 1992 utilizing theater as viable venue to reveal the unjust causes against Native Americans but also to help identify and reestablish positive and constructive assets within the Native American social environment. Has been with “Don't Feed The Indians- Divine Comedy Pageant” since its development in 2011.
Henu Josephine Tarrant (Performer and lead vocalist) - Hopi/ Hochunk/ Kuna/ Rappahannock Nations. She is a recent graduate of the American Musical and Dramatic Academy's Musical Theater integrated program. Previously to her college education she attended the Jersey City School of the Arts where she majored in Theater. She attended the Rutgers Acting conservatory and soon after was cast in "Aliens vs Cheerleaders" an off Broadway production written by Urinetown playwright Greg Kotis. She is an experienced Fancy Shawl Dancer, Hoop Dancer, and most recently Hocak Applique Style. She is back-up sings for her father’s southern drum group SilverCloud Singers. Pow Wow culture is a part of her and has been her inspiration in the work she does. Since earning her associates degree from AMDA she's been focusing on furthering her education at The New School where she will be finishing her Bachelor’s Degree in Musical Theater. Her most recent work was a short narrative film about black market selling of sacred items, and the issues of Indigenous sovereign rights called “The Return Home” written and directed by Angelo Baca (Hopi) for the NYU Tisch Summer Film Program 2015. "Don't feed the Indians: A divine comedy pageant" has been a tremendous inspiration to her and her aspiring work.
Danielle Soames (Performer) - Mohawk- Kahnawake. Danielle has produced, acted, directed and written off-Broadway. She has performed with Spiderwoman Theatre and Safe Harbour Theatre for several years. Fully produced Vickie Ramirez’s play: SMOKE at the Signature Theatre on 42nd Street as part of her own theatre company, Mixed Phoenix Theatre Group which she was the Artistic Director for 6 years. Danielle received her Master’s degree in Educational Theatre from NYU and Bachelor of Science from Northeastern University. Attended University of MN for theatre and was the President at AISES (American Indian Science and Engineering Society).
After graduating from NYU, Danielle was a Native American Fellow at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA. working for the Education and Interpretation Department. Her focus has always been to break stereotypes of mixed-ethnicities and mixed cultures by exploring identity, primarily in new plays and poetry events that address conflict within cultures.
John Scott-Richardson (Drummer/Performer) is a member of the Haliwa-Saponi tribe. His maternal lineage is Nansemond/Tutelo Saponi, and his paternal lineage is Meherrin/Tuscarora. He is active in the artistic community and has performed and spoken across the country. Most recent roles include Don’t Feed The Indians, Dvorak In America, Shakespeare's Macbeth, HBO comedy series Vice Principles with Danny McBride, and international music video for The Weeknd. John is a men’s traditional singer, dancer, public speaker, and emcee. John is a cultural advisor with NC Museum of History, co producer on WCCR 590am radio, and a producer with several musical and cultural venues. John sits on two urban organization boards.
Elizabeth "Chee Chee ThunderBird" Haile (Pianist) - Shinnecock Nation. She entered the Spirit World on August 21, 2015 at her home on the Shinnecock Indian Reservation. She graduated from Oneonta State Teachers College where she obtained her her bachelor's degree in 1952. She than obtained her master's degree at NYU. She would go on to teach in the Schenectady School system, involving eight different schools to instruct Indian Culture and Modern Dance. Elizabeth went on to teach in Early Education and Native American Culture and became a consultant on this subject. Founding member of the Shinnecock Tribal Council Committee, Vice President and Secretary of the Shinnecock Nation Cultural Center and Museum, founding member of the Padoquohan Medicine Lodge, Inc. She was the recipient of an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from LIU. Her influence on her community will forever be cherished and valued.
Louis Mofsie (Backdrop Artist) Hopi/ Winnebago. He is the Director and founding member of the Thunderbird American Indian Dancers, a New York based multi-ethnic dance troupe, who already celebrated their 30 year anniversary. Louie with the Thunderbird American Indian Dancers has performed in elementary schools, high schools and colleges all over New York, and several states outside the New York area. Two performances have been collaborations with organizations like Long Island Traditions, Inc. to promote Native American culture into Long Island schools and the Westchester Philharmonic to perform in the Westchester County elementary schools in Stamford, Connecticut and throughout New Jersey. Louie has also performed in several countries like Israel, Japan, and Canada. Besides performing Louie has also choreographed dance. He was Choreographer of "Operation Sidewinder" with the Lincoln Center Repertory Company, "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" with the Mercer Arts Center, "Three Masked Dances" with La Mama Etc., and "The Only Good Indian" with the Theater for the New City
Don't Feed the Indians - A Divine Comedy Pageant!
The Star Medicine
Praise for Murielle Borst Tarrant.
Murielle Borst Tarrant is a one woman earth cruise to the infinite and so is her work! - Linda Hogan, Chickasaw Nation. Author of Mean Spirit, a winner of the Oklahoma Book Award, the Mountains and Plains Book Award, and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.
Muriel Borst Tarrent takes story-telling to another realm to explore what is possible in her new work, THE STAR MEDICINE.
She gives to her reader knowledge of the importance of native mythology, not only with a taste of the past, but of the future.
She follows myth beyond the boundaries of what can and cannot be done.
Muriel is half-visionary, half-story-teller. In her braided work, she goes to the stars to bring back their magic to the earth, then gives it back to the sky. - Diane Glancy, Cherokee author of Pushing the Bear, and winner of the American Book Award.
Murielle Borst Tarrant is a daring, creative performer, writer, director and now novelist!
Watch her, as she carries forth the gifts that have come through.
- Joy Harjo, Mvskoke poet, musician, writer, performer and artist