Julie Burelle

Poetic Landscapes, March 1st at The Loft (on the UCSD campus)

I am thrilled to work with Professor Gloria Chacon from the Literature Department to organize Poetic Landscapes, UC San Diego’s first evening of Indigenous poetry, storytelling, and spoken word.  Our guests for this first edition: Gordon Johnson, Tria Blu Wakpa, Amrah Salomon, and Diana Cervera. We are extremely happy to report that the Rincon Youth Storytellers, a group of young artists from the Luiseno community of Rincon will join us as our opening act.  The evening will conclude with an open-mic session, so come prepared to share your words, your voice, and your stories!

A visit from Lynne Jennings of the San Diego Guild of Puppetry

This fall, I am teaching an undergraduate course on Theatre for Young Audiences with a focus on social change. It’s great to go back to my roots. I started doing socially engaged theatre when I was 15 years old with Le Théâtre des Lueurs in Ottawa. I did not realize it at the time, but Le Théâtre des Lueurs really embodied what art as social practice ought to be. The play, devised after an entire summer of discussions with community organizers, health and social workers and ensemble work and theatre games, was really for and by the community. I have great memories of the 40 or so shows we performed every year in high schools, community centers, and various events. I performed for two years and then acted as a instructor-devisor the following year. I realize that this experience informs the way I teach, and the way I think about young audiences and young performers. This quarter has been amazing thus far: we read plays by Wajdi Mouawad, Larissa Fasthorse, Genevieve Billette, Kristin Idazsac, The New Paradise Laboratories, Naomi Iizuka, Suzanne Lebeau, José Cruz Gonzalez, and looked at projects by Mammalian Diving Reflex. My students are generous, engaged, thoughtful…

Last week, Lynne Jennings from the San Diego Guild of Puppetry gave us a two-day introduction to puppetry. We played with found objects, puppets of all sorts and it was amazing to see students dive in and create visually poetic work.

California Native American Day -New Calendar of Events

A new year, a new calendar of events! For its 10th anniversary, the series has a common theme, “Unsettled Stories: Reclaiming This Land,” which represents well the tensions and the stakes at the heart of UCSD’s relationship (or lack thereof) with the Native American communities of San Diego county. Come join us for some thought-provoking talks, for films or for an evening of Indigenous poetry, storytelling and spoken word.

We already had the kick-off lunch but check out the following events that will happen throughout the academic year


Running Grunion — Abel Silvas

Abel Silvas will combine comedy, storytelling, and mime, offering an interpretation of Native American history and culture from past to present.

Date: Oct. 27, 2015
Time: 9:00–11:00 a.m., 4 performances

Location: Early Childhood Education Center (map)


Tradition by Moderns: Native American Women Artists in California

Month-long exhibit curated by UCSD undergraduates

Date: Open throughout November, Wednesdays-Sundays
Time: Noon – 4 p.m.
Location: Women’s Museum of California, Liberty Landing, 2730 Historic Decatur Road, Barracks 16

Contact: Ross Frank, rfrank@ucsd.edu

There is much to be gained from listening to another perspective when understanding historical and social realities. Although Native women have always played an integral role in indigenous culture, their stories are not as well known because other historical narratives have taken precedent. To illustrate the visual sovereignty established by Native American women artists in California, we present these selected works by Eva Salazar, Jean Lamarr, Jamie Okuma, Hulleah J. Tsinhnahjinnie, and Joyce, Juanita and Jessa Rae Growing Thunder-Fogarty. Native women artists, like those whose work form the focus of this exhibit, have found ways to strengthen their messages and culture through their art.

The exhibition is organized by the Woman’s Museum of California and curated by nine students enrolled in the Representing Native America course at the University of California, San Diego, led by Ross Frank, Associate Professor in the Department of Ethnic Studies.

Native American Student Research Symposium

Hosted by the Graduate Division. All undergraduates are welcome — to reserve a seat call (858) 822-3536.

Date: Thursday, Nov. 5, 2015
Time: 5–7 p.m.
Location: Cross-Cultural Center, Communidad room (map)

Contact: Elisa Maldonado, emmaldonado@ucsd.edu

Presentation of research relating to Native America and Indigenous peoples and issues and discussion of the UCSD Tribal Initiative for graduate applicants.

Colloquium: Professor Amy Lonetree (UCSC)

Indigenizing Museums and the Move Toward Decolonization: Successes and Ongoing Challenges

Native American-Indigenous Studies Series, Department of Ethnic Studies

Date: Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015.Time: 6–8 p.m. Location: 107 Social Science Building

The relationship between Indigenous communities and mainstream museums has changed significantly in recent decades as a result of Indigenous activism and new museum theory and practice. These changes include the sharing of curatorial authority, collaborative partnerships, and efforts to decolonize museums.  Lonetree’s research examines the current state of contemporary exhibition practices at both national and tribal museums.  Central to her analysis is exploring how museums can serve as sites of decolonization through honoring Indigenous knowledge and worldview, and discussing the hard truths of colonization in exhibitions in an effort to promote healing and understanding.

Keynote Speaker:  Persephone Hooper (Yomba Band Shoshone, USD, UCSD alum)

“We” Not “I”:  the Importance of CommUNITY in the Lives of Native Students, Faculty, and Staff

Co-sponsored by the Department of Ethnic Studies 25th Anniversary Events

Date: Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015. Time: 6–8 p.m. Location: Cross-Cultural Center, Communidad room (map)

Community is a central aspect of the Native American experience on and off reservations. In order for Native students, staff, and faculty to flourish and succeed in a college environment, there must be a concerted effort to create spaces and programs on campus that foster a sense of belonging. Perse Lewis will provide insights on the importance of creating, strengthening, and sustaining a Native community on college campuses.

Native American Film Festival

Film: The Activist with a talk back by actor Tonantzin Carmelo (Tonva | Kumeyay)

Co-sponsored by Native American Council and Cross-Cultural Center

Date: Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2015. Location: Cross-Cultural Center, Comunidad Room (map)

A political thriller during the Wounded Knee insurrection in 1973. Two activists are arrested and held in custody in a sheriff’s office. They will meet a Nixon advisor, a lawyer, a senator and a movie star who is also an activist.


Stories from the Indian Boarding School By the Native Voices Artists Ensemble

Co-sponsored by the Department of Ethnic Studies 25th Anniversary Events and Department of Theatre and Dance

Date: December 1, 2015. Time: 7 p.m. Location: Dance Studio 3, Molli and Arthur Wagner Dance Building

Based on first person narratives, videos and historical documents, this touching, funny, and gritty collection of stories depict the reality and repercussions of the American Indian Boarding School system from the later 1800s to the present. Children were often forcibly taken to off reservation schools hundreds of miles across the continent to break tribal ties and authority. The motto of the schools, coined by General Richard H. Pratt, was “Kill the Indian, save the man” which translated into blotting out all language, tradition, culture, and familial ties. The American Indian Boarding School system was devastating to children and their families – the effects of which can still be felt today. (Fringe program.)


Poetic Landscapes:  Indigenous Spoken Word and Storytelling – A Cabaret Night

Co-sponsored by the Department of Ethnic Studies 25th Anniversary Events and Native American Student Association

Date: March 1, 2016. Time: 7-9 p.m. Location: The Loft

Organized by Professors Gloria Chacon (Literature) and Julie Burelle (Theatre and Dance), this evening of poetry, spoken word, and storytelling by Indigenous writers and performers features a variety of emergent and established artists from local communities reading their own work, or selections from other Indigenous writers from other areas of the world.  Participants include: Gordon Johnson (Cahuilla Cupeno), Preston Arrow-Weed (Quechan), The Rincon Youth Storytellers, and others on and off campus.


UCSD 6th Annual Powwow

Sponsored by Native American Student Alliance


Sallie Lyons

Sallie Lyons was my movement teacher at the University of Toronto but she was much more than that… She gave me tough love, support, and great advices. She helped me find my breath, my voice, and, often, my courage. Her teaching was central to my journey as an undergraduate student and I am forever grateful for having met her. She retired last spring and I was able to participate in her retirement party from afar, sending her my love and appreciation virtually. Here is to all the professors that have changed my (our) lives: Sallie Lyons, Christine Heitzmann, Antje Budde, Lee Maracle, Emily Roxworthy, Frank Wilderson, Patrick Anderson, Ross Frank, and many others in their small and big ways.

Native Voices at the Autry

Do you know about the Native Voices at the Autry Festival of New Plays? You should! Co-founded by Randy Reinholz (Choctaw) and Jean Bruce Scott, this festival has been nurturing the voices of new Indigenous playwrights for two decades now. See some of their work here: https://theautry.org/native-voices/theatre-native-voices

Last spring, I served as dramaturg for Too Damn Proud by Justin Neal (Squamish) during the retreat at the Autry in Los Angeles. See an interview with Justin here: http://nativevoices.blogspot.com/2015/05/meet-playwright-justin-neal.html

Justin’s play is funny and heartbreaking, capturing the journey toward healing of two siblings united by a tragic loss. The actors that have been part of Native Voices for the last 20 years are top-notch, Here is a photo taken after the staged reading held at the Autry. The other reading took place at the La Jolla Playhouse (LJP) on the same day that LJP resident artist BD Wong held a gathering with members of the San Diego Native American communities to see how the Playhouse could better serve and support Native American theatre and performance. I met Miss Ami Admire of the Rincon Youth Storytellers and writer Gordon Johnston at this meeting. More on our future collaborations soon!

UC Riverside Indigenous Choreographers Project 2015

Last May, I had the tremendous privilege of taking part in the University of California Riverside Indigenous Choreographers Project with a group of immensely talented and thought-provoking artists/scholars.

The project is organized by Professor Jacqueline Shea Murphy from UCR whose generosity really set the tone for this encounter. The line up was incredible and if you do not know these artists, let me help you correct this situation!

Sam Mitchell (who has recently started the PhD program in Theatre at UCSD!) and I presented on our work together. There were some amazing discussions about decolonizing academia, the necessity to create supportive communities for Indigenous scholars…

If you missed it, don’t fret: you will be able to read some of the works presented there in a special edition of Dance Research Journal edited by Jacqueline Shea Murphy on Indigenous Dance Today. It will be out in the winter of 2016 and I could not be prouder to be part of this amazing group of Indigenous and non-Indigenous thinkers/movers!


Mapping Digital Futures

Come see me discuss a project for an interactive memory walk that I hope to develop at UCSD.


Staged Reading at UCSD

The students of my TDHT101 Native American Performance class spent the quarter studying plays and performances by First Nations artists from Canada and the US like Marie Clements, Tomson Highway, Shirley Cheechoo, Spiderwoman Theatre, Monique Mojica, Yvette Nolan, and Randy Reinholz. They also examined the work of visual artist Nadia Myre, of hip hop artists Samian and Shauit, of the DJs A Tribe Called Red. They watched short films by the Wapikoni Mobile, met with Jennifer Bobiwash to talk about her youtube channel called Welcome to the Tipi, had the chance to chat with Randi Reinholz… It was a full quarter! The class culminated with a staged reading of Preston Arrow-weed’s play Provocation: A Deadly Game.  In his play, Mr. Arrow-weed creates an encounter outside of time, held in a mystical courtroom, between Joe Homer, a Quechan leader, and the perpetrators of what has been recorded in the archives as the Glanton Massacre. That Horsehair, the Quechan leader, killed John J. Glanton and his gang is undisputed in Mr. Arrow-weed’s play. Instead, the play meditates on the reasons that pushed Horsehair to end Glanton’s reign of terror on the Colorado River. The play seeks to provide another version of the events that took place in 1850 near what is now Fort Yuma.

Working with The Trip

Check out the photos of The Trip’s adaptation of Orpheus and Eurydice, written and directed by Tom Dugdale, and performed last December at the Molli and Arthur Wagner Theatre in San Diego. I worked as a dramaturg with Tom on this production which was nominated for a Craig Noel Award. The Trip is a young theatre company in San Diego and seeing their work always reminds me of why I love theatre so much, that it can still be urgent, community-based, serious but not serious, profound…I love how Tom revisits myths that are larger than life and infuses them with a quotidian form of intimacy. His adaptation of Alcestis, entitled We Only Live Once, was recently performed at the MStudio Movement Theatre in Romania (check out photos here: http://www.tomdugdale.net/we-only-live-once.html)


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