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"We Make It Burn"

Wusatoumuduk: we make it burn is a new multi-media play about Cultural Fire envisioned, created, and collaboratively written in present day Humboldt County, Ca.

The Wiyot Tribe has partnered with the North Coast Repertory Theater to develop this play with support from the California Arts Council.

Created through a deeply collaborative process starting in December of last year, myself, Michelle Hernandez (Wiyot), and Marnie Atkins (Wiyot) who is the instigator of this project and set the vision for it - people may recognize her as the former director of the Da Gou Rou Louwi' Cultural Center when it first opened - spent months talking about and generating ideas for what the content of the play should include, what values were important to express, who the characters are, and what world they inhabit.

The writing team, which also includes Maggie Peters (Yurok/Karuk), Merry Kate Lowry (Yurok), and Solomon Everta (Turtle Mountain Chippewa), decided to center the story around a young Wiyot woman who is learning about fire ecology in college and through her culture at the same time and experiencing both cultural and emotional dissonances through this process. Her family members support her and help her make connections that affirm her identity and give her the courage to stand up for her viewpoints and articulate her feelings.

The play is multi-media, including animations by Chantal Jung of traditional Wiyot stories called Lhatsik in Soulatluk (the Wiyot Language), and there are shadow play elements that connect the world of the screen to the world of the stage with puppets by James Hildebrandt.

June 15th and 16th there are stage readings at North Coast Repertory Theater in Eureka with talkbacks afterwards to further develop the play and plans to tour a fully realized production in 2025. For more info write to or reach out to me.

graphic by Josh Rosewolf

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