Multidisciplinary artist Erin Genia (SMACT ’19) recently participated in the American Repertory Theater’s Moving Through History Project, an immersive installation which aims to break down cultural barriers.

From the article in the Harvard Gazette:

What if we didn’t associate Colonial-era landmarks like the Old State House and Old South Meeting House only with the annual reading of the Declaration of Independence, but also with the words of Pontiac, the 18th-century Indigenous war chief who led intertribal resistance against the British? What if we could erase the borders of our city and see it, instead, as part of Turtle Island, as some Native people call the Earth? What if we could similarly reject the boundaries on self, gender, and even the division between performer and audience, for a little while?

These are the goals of “Moving Through History,” an immersive installation happening Wednesday and Thursday as part of the Creating Equal initiative, a collective of artists in conversation around themes of the American Repertory Theater’s upcoming production of “1776.” The event, presented by ART, was originally conceived as a participatory walking tour to well-known locations in Boston, featuring alternative histories presented through movement and text. With temperatures forecast for the 90s and only broken by thunderstorms, the entire event will now take place in the air-conditioned and wheelchair-accessible Old South Meeting House, 310 Washington St., Boston, from 5 to 6:15 p.m. both days….

For a Native American perspective, participants will view Indigenous artist Elizabeth James-Perry’s depiction of Turtle Island. Then Erin Genia will recite Pontiac’s 1763 “Master of Life” speech. “Native Americans and Indigenous people have not been adequately portrayed throughout our history,” said Genia, a member of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate/Odawa. “Pontiac was working with different spiritual leaders of different tribes. In this speech, he appeals to the spiritual side of the fight. He tells the story of the ‘master of life’ to get the troops to return to traditional ways and reject Colonial ways and drive out the settlers.”

Full article can be found here.