Skin(s) Residency – Kelly Strayhorn Theater Pittsburgh

All Events at the KST Alloy Studios, Pittsburgh
Saturday, August 6th at 8pm
Performance and discussion with Rosy Simas & performer Lela Pierce
$5-$25 sliding scale (tickets through KST)
Public Workshop with Rosy Simas
Wednesday, August 3rd 10am-11:30am
Public lunch with the artists,
Wednesday, August 3rd 11:30am-12:30pm
FREE

Calling forth the beauty and diversity of the ways that Native people identify, choreographer Rosy Simas (Seneca) examines the contradictions that arise out of the many dimensions of identity through her multi-year project Skin(s). The work will be developed in five communities, Chicago Metro Area, Riverside/Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, Minneapolis, Duluth, MN, and Pittsburgh. Each iteration of Skin(s) will address Native identity and Native issues unique to the region where Simas will be in residence.
Simas’ residency in Pittsburgh (July 29th-August 7th, 2016) at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater is a creative bridge between Simas’ very personal past work (We Wait In The Darkness) and her future work which focuses more on urban Native communities.
In 1665 “Seneca power and presence extended from Canada to what would become Pittsburgh, east to the future Lackawanna and into the land of the Minnisink on the New York /New Jersey border.”  The History of the Seneca Indians by Arthur Parker
Contemporary Seneca Allegany territory and Pittsburgh are connected via the Alleghany river. Simas is calling attention to the historic links between Pittsburgh and the Seneca. Examining displacement from before the Treaty of Easton (between the British, Seneca, Lenape, Shawnee in 1758) and the 1961 breaking of the Treaty of Canandaigua (between the Six Nations and the United States, 1794). The Kinzua Dam was built to stop the continual flooding of Pittsburgh downstream of the Seneca Allegany territories. The Kinzua Dam created the Allegheny Reservoir which flooded the Seneca lands. Under the Allegheny Reservoir is the Cornplanter Tract of the Seneca Nation, the birthplace of Simas’ grandmother, Cleo Waterman, and the original resting place of her ancestors, including her fifth great grandfather Chief Cornplanter.

Contemporary gentrification is rooted in the colonization of this land. History can show us how the contemporary mindset of gentrification developed. Maybe recognizing and learning the history of the Indigenous people of the communities we live in can help us build and develop spaces for all peoples.

Informational links (more to come):
Todays Allegany Territory Overlayed by 1960’s pre-Kinzua Dam
 Allegany Territory Kinzua Dam Removal – Red House, Shongo & Jimersontown Communities
 Allegany Territory Kinzua Dam Removal – Onoville Community
 Seneca People on Wikipedia
Lake of Betrayal: The Story of Kinzua Dam. A new documentary by Paul Lamont & Scott Sackett (in production).
Recommended readings (more to come):
In the Shadow of Kinzua.The Seneca Nation of Indians since World War II, by Laurence M. Hauptman.

• 07/29/2016

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