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NAS English Professor Kirby Brown (Cherokee Nation) featured in OsiyoTV segment on Cherokee playwright Lynn Riggs

In two of its most recent episodes, OsiyoTV: Voices of the Cherokee People explores the life, writing, and legacy of Lynn Riggs, a prolific and widely respected Cherokee playwright, screenwriter, filmmaker, poet, and drama theorist, and Ruth Muskrat Bronson, a Cherokee writer, educator, activist, and intellectual.
As central figures in his recently-published book,¬†Stoking the Fire: Nationhood in Cherokee Writing, 1907-1970, Professor Brown speaks about Riggs’s close¬†associations with some of the most influential figures of American modernism, drama, and popular culture production, sharing bills with Eugene O’Neill and George Bernard Shaw at the Provincetown Players and Hedgerow Theater, and finishing as a runner-up twice for the Pulitzer Prize in drama. He also discusses Riggs’s legacy as both a central, though still neglected, figure in American drama and as a formative ancestor in Cherokee dramatic and performance traditions.

In this episode, Brown speaks about Bronson’s almost six-decade-long career of service and activism on behalf of Native peoples, communities, and nations. In addition to teaching alongside Ella Deloria and Henry Roe Cloud at Haskell Institute, Bronson also founded the American Indian Higher Education Scholarship Program while an employee at the Bureau of Indian Affairs and was a founding member and executive officer for the National Congress of American Indians. As Brown notes in the feature, “Ruth Muskrat Bronson is one of the most important American Indian figures of the early 20th century who almost no one knows of or writes about.” Brown’s work on Bronson’s life and work seeks to change that.

The interviews were recorded during the Cherokee National Holiday in Tahlequah, Oklahoma over Labor Day weekend. The Holiday remembers and honors the arrival in Indian Territory of the last detachments of Cherokee people forcibly removed from their homelands in the US Southeast on the Trail of Tears in 1839.

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