FNUniv set to teach First Nations drama

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Class looks at eliminating First Nations stereotypes through theatre

Martin Weaver
News Editor

While students often have to fit classes in their schedule that they would prefer not to take, there is one class that may get interest from many students.

Jesse Archibald-Barber teaches English. In addition to that, he will teach a class that he hopes many will flock to. Archibald-Barber is to teach Canadian First Nations drama. It’s a First Nations University class that will teach students about different First Nation playwrights and what they have been doing to try and eliminate stereotypes and misconceptions created by English-Canadian literature in historical contexts.

The students can register to this class, which is to be taught at FNUniv under English 310 AE.

Archibald-Barber explained that it is only in the last 20 or 30 years that these playwrights have been challenging these misconceptions. Through this class, students will be able to get the true definition of what First Nations drama is.

“We’ll be looking at what makes them distinctively First Nations,” said Archibald-Barber. “Are they aboriginal in content only, or is there also something aboriginal about the form of the play?

“The course will be historical on one hand, but we’ll also look at the dramatic conventions and formal aesthetics.”

This is not the first time this course has been though throughout First Nations University of Canada’s 35-year history. Archibald-Barber explains that it had been available to students during the ‘80s and ‘90s. However, he does promise that this time the class content will be very differnent.

“Canada has a very rich pool of first nationFirst Nations plays to draw from, but what’s going to be best about this class is that we’ll be looking at about five or six playwrights and four of those playwrights will actually be coming to the university,” said Archibald-Barber. “Students will actually get to meet the playwrights.”

Those who are to make appearances to speak include Daniel David Moses, Yvette Nolan, and Monique Mojica. Archibald-Barber feels that the hands on learning experience won’t only make it easier to remember the material, but it will make the class more interesting.

In addition to the special guests, students will also get the opportunity to play a direct role into First Nations drama.

“One of the plays we will be reading in the course is a play called Antigone, written by Cree playwright Deanne Kasokeo and I’m going to bring a production of that play to the university,” said Archibald-Barber.

What makes this class even more special is that First Nations drama is a comparatively rare sight in Canadian academic culture, meaning students in Regina get to be some of the only ones to experience this unique class.

For those who finish this class and really enjoy it, Archibald-Barber reminds them that there is always a possibility to take a minor in indigenous theatre, which would be in conjunction with the University of Regina.

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