LITTLE SISTER A One-Act Play By Carolyn Gage

Little Sister Copyright 2011 Carolyn Gage Caution: Professionals and amateurs are hereby warned that Little Sister is subject to a royalty. It is fully protected under the copyright laws of the United States of America, and of all countries covered by the International Copyright Union (including the Dominion of Canada and the rest of the British Commonwealth), and of all countries covered by the Pan-American Copyright Convention and the Universal Copyright Convention, and of all countries with which the United States has reciprocal copyright relations. All rights including, but not limited to, professional, amateur, recording, motion picture, recitation, lecturing, public reading, radio and television broadcasting, video or sound taping, all other forms of mechanical or electronic reproduction, such as information storage and retrieval systems and photocopying, and the rights of translation into foreign languages are expressly reserved. Particular emphasis is placed on the question of readings and all uses of this play by educational institutions, permission for which must be secured in writing from the author or the author's representative. No amateur or stock performance or reading of the play may be given without obtaining, in advance, the written permission of the Author. All inquiries concerning professional and amateur performance rights should be addressed to the Author via her website at www.carolyngage.com.

Synopsis:
A tribal police officer struggles with her lesbian partner over issues of loyalty and definitions of “family.” The play opens with an argument between Theresa, who has just had to arrest her brother-in-law again, and Jess, who is engaged in creating a graphic novel about the Chiricahua, Two-Spirit warrior Lozen. Theresa raises a number of concerns about assimilation into white culture, as well as questions about the accuracy of oral histories taken down by white historians. Later, we meet Theresa’s niece, Onawah, who is twelve and experiencing intense “gender dysphoria.” Jess, who has a trauma history, experiences ongoing PTSD, which becomes an issue when Onawah arrives unexpectedly in the middle of the night. Jess, startled, responds with a display of violence that terrifies Onawah. When Theresa attempts to explain about PTSD, Onawah becomes even more disturbed, for reasons of her own. Later, in the night, Onawah overdoses on Jess’ meds and is taken to a hospital. At the hospital, it is revealed that the girl has been a victim of sexual abuse. When suspicion falls on Onawah’s stepfather, her family responds with denial and counter-accusations, and Jess finds herself needing to confront some of her worst demons in order to show up for Onawah. An episode from Jess’ graphic novel about Lozen provides the key that unlocks the healing for the child, as well as for Jess. The play ends on a note of hope rooted in a fierce history of resistance in a culture that considered Two Spirit people sacred and the well-being of the child a tribal priority. 3 adult Native American women, 1 Native American girl 2 walk-ons Multiple sets 1 hour

Introduction In 2010, Amnesty International published a report titled, “Maze of Injustice: The failure to protect Indigenous women from sexual violence in the USA.” This play was inspired by a desire to respond, as a playwright, to the situation documented in that report, by my personal experiences in witnessing stories from Native American women within my Twelve-Step recovery community, and by my ongoing commitment to the cultural reclamation of lesbians and so-called masculine, or “butch” women who have been erased from history. According to the Amnesty report, Native American women are at least 2.5 times more likely to be sexually assaulted in their lifetimes as other women in the United States, and at least eighty-six percent of reported rapes or other sexual assaults against Indigenous women are committed by nonIndian men who are rarely prosecuted or punished. The failure to pursue justice in such cases is due to a number of factors, the report noted, including chronic under-funding of police and health services, and a “complex maze of tribal, state and federal jurisdictions that is so confusing that it often allows perpetrators to evade justice entirely.” While tribal governments have substantial autonomy over their internal affairs, the federal government has steadily eroded their justice systems, particularly in areas that involve non-Native individuals or interests. In 1978, the Supreme Court ruled that tribal governments cannot prosecute criminal defendants who are non-Indian even if the crime of which they are accused takes place on tribal lands. In addition, tribal authorities, many of whose communities suffer the highest poverty rates in the U.S., are chronically under-financed, leading to major gaps in law

enforcement and the availability of social and health services as compared to non-Native communities. Finally, federal law imposes restrictions on the sentencing, and historically tribal courts could not hand down prison sentences longer than one year. “What this amounts to is a travesty of justice for the tens of thousands of Indigenous survivors of rape,” said Larry Cox, executive director of Amnesty’s U.S. section. “Violence against women is not only a criminal or social issue—it is also a human rights abuse,” he added. “In failing to ensure that Indigenous women are protected from violence, the U.S. government is complicit in violating their human rights. It is disgraceful that such abuse even exists today.” There is frequently reluctance on the part of all victims of domestic and sexual violence to report to authorities, but Native American women have valid reasons for their fear of retaliation and their lack of confidence that the authorities will take allegations of assault seriously. According to Sarah Deer, an attorney with the Tribal Law and Policy Institute, “American Indian and Alaska Native women are living in a virtual war zone, where rape, abuse and murder are commonplace and sexual predators prey with impunity. In many tribal communities, rape and molestation are so common that young women fully expect that they will be victims of sexual violence at some point.” It is this “expectation” of victimhood that becomes so pernicious, and in all of my work, it is my hope to infuse women with attitudes of entitlement that will become a bulwark for resistance. Entitlement can derive from ill-gotten privilege, but it can also come from heritage and historical antecedents. The stories of Lozen generate a paradigm of empowered women warriors,

uncompromising in prioritizing the welfare of women and children. Lozen, as noted in the play, was nearly erased from history because of her Two-Spirit identity. Generally erasure of the masculine woman is a function of misogyny and/or homophobia, but in this case, Lozen’s near-erasure was motivated by a desire, on the part of her Chiricahua people, to protect her reputation. In my play, I attempt to incorporate the conflicting views about use of histories recorded by white people, and also the problematic nature of ascribing a lesbian or butch identity to a historical, indigenous figure. The Two-Spirit tradition has by no means eradicated homophobia in Native American communities, and I wanted to write a play that celebrated the “out” lesbians in these communities and that addressed the prejudice they face where the traditional values of the Catholic church have become woven into the fabric of Native life. The N’dee (“Apache”) culture includes the Sunrise Ceremony, a four-day communal celebration that marks the first menstruation of an N’dee girl as she enters puberty. I was interested in the contradiction between this empowering heritage and the disempowering “expectation” described by Sarah Deer. How would a young survivor of sexual abuse relate to the ceremony, when the arrival of the menses translates to increased vulnerability via potential pregnancy and changes in the body that invite sexual objectification? Who are one’s people? Where are the limits of family? These are questions that inform survivor culture, and questions with higher stakes when an entire population has been targeted for extinction. How and when does compassion for those impacted by intergenerational trauma translate to enabling of the cycles?

Finally, in Little Sister, I wanted to explore the tensions between a partner whose focus is on external enforcement and a partner who is preoccupied with the challenging of internal paradigms.

Cast of Characters THERESA: An N’dee (Apache) lesbian, 35. JESS: Theresa’s partner, N’dee butch, 35. MARIE: Theresa’s sister, 40. ONAWAH: Marie’s daughter and Theresa’s niece, 12, a masculine girl. NURSE 1: Any age, any gender, any race. NURSE 2: Any age, any gender, any race. DRUMMER: (optional)

Synopsis of Scenes Scene 1: Interior of the living room of Theresa and Jess’ home, late afternoon. Scene 2: The mesa outside their home. Sunset of same day. Scene 3: Living room, evening, same day. Scene 4: Living room, midnight Scene 5: The mesa, shortly after midnight. Scene 6: Living room, early the next morning. Scene 7: The mesa, afternoon, same day. Scene 8: Interior of a hospital room, late afternoon, same day. Scene 9: Living room, evening, same day.

LITTLE SISTER Scene 1 Before the lights come up, the sound of a solo drum is heard. This can go on for a minute. The drumming can be taped or live. The drumming ends and lights come up on a combined living room/kitchen space in a doublewide trailer, late afternoon. The trailer is on an N’dee reservation in Arizona. There is a counter that separates the kitchen area from the living room. There is a door to the outside and a door leading to the bedroom. The walls are decorated with Native American political and cultural posters. JESS is working at her desk. She is an N’dee (Apache) lesbian butch in her early thirties. A graphic artist, JESS works out of the home she shares with her life partner, THERESA. THERESA, also N’dee and in her thirties, is a tribal police officer on the reservation. She has just gotten off work and is upset and exhausted. JESS looks up expectantly when she enters. THERESA, preoccupied, enters without acknowledging her and heads for the fridge. JESS: (Prompting her.) “Honey, I’m home…” THERESA: (Not turning.) Honey, I’m home. (She gets a beer and looks at the sink full of dishes, unable to locate a clean glass.) Seriously …? (JESS has gone back to her drawing.) Jess! JESS: What? THERESA: No clean glasses…? JESS: Use a cup. (THERESA looks for a cup.) 1

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THERESA: I can’t believe this— JESS: (Still not looking up.) Just rinse one out. THERESA: You’ve been home all day, and you couldn’t even do the dishes! JESS: Come here, Theresa… Look at this—(THERESA opens the beer and drinks out of the bottle.) THERESA: (Shaking her head.) I go to work all day— JESS: I go to work, too. In fact, I’m still at work. You’re the one off-duty. You’re the one who’s interrupting. THERESA: I’m talking about the dirty work. You never want to do the dirty work. That’s always my job. JESS: (Still drawing.) Not true. We artists—we are the turkey vultures of the culture… the scavengers… We take the rotting corpses, the dirty secrets of society and we pick them clean— digesting the undigestible—processing the carrion, and leaving the bones— THERESA: Dishes, Jess! (JESS looks up.) Dirty dishes. And I’m not talking about metaphors. I’m not talking about the “crumbs of subsistence brushed from the laps of white imperialists” or “the post-colonial table scraps of global capitalism.” These dishes, this cup, right here, in our sink, right now. That’s the dirty work you don’t want to do. That’s what I get stuck doing. JESS: And I am going to do them, but what you don’t understand is that Spirit doesn’t punch a time clock. Vision is not something you can pencil in on Wednesday at noon. Sometimes it wakes me up in the middle of the night. 2

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Sometimes it takes off for a week without telling me and leaves me stranded in the middle of a project. THERESA: Well, with such a loyal apprentice, I don’t understand why Spirit can’t cut loose with a paycheck from time to time. JESS: (Defensively.) I get freelance work. (THERESA looks at her.) This isn’t about money, is it? THERESA: (Turning away.) It’s about dishes. JESS: Well, maybe if you bothered to ask me what I was doing instead of the dishes— THERESA: Okay! What are you doing instead of the dishes? JESS: Well, I’ve started work on a new graphic novel. THERESA: (Rolling her eyes.) A comic book. JESS: A graphic novel about a Chiricahua warrior. A woman. See…? Her name was Lozen. [Pronounced “LO-zen.”] THERESA: (Squinting at the drawing.) It’s a man. JESS: She’s butch. THERESA: Well, she looks like a man. JESS: (Irritated.) Come on, Theresa. That’s what people all the time say about me. THERESA: (Shrugging.) Okay… JESS: Do you want to hear about this? 3

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THERESA: “It’s about a Chiricahua warrior…” JESS: And she was a lesbian— THERESA: (Cutting her off.) A “lesbian”… really? From Lesbos…? An island in Greece? JESS: Two-Spirit. She was Two-Spirit, and she rode with the men and she fought with them, and she was at Skeleton Canyon with Geronimo when he surrendered, and she went into captivity, when they forced them onto a sealed train and transported them to Florida for twenty years— THERESA: Twenty-seven. JESS: And she had a partner who was a woman— THERESA: (Cutting her off.) How do you know? JESS: It’s our history. THERESA: And who wrote it? (A long pause.) JESS: It’s the oral history from the survivors of the captivity. THERESA: And who wrote it? (Another long pause.) Yeah. A white man. JESS: This happened to have been written by a white woman— THERESA: (Cutting in.) Because that makes it okay. JESS: (Continuing.) … and they trusted her. (THERESA gives her a look.) They did! She lived next to the reservation. She was a neighbor. They knew her. Geronimo’s nephew gave her his war club. He had buried it when they took him prisoner, 4

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and then he came back and dug it up twenty-seven years later… and he gave it to this woman. That’s how much he respected her. He did that so people would know she was writing the truth! (THERESA doesn’t say anything.) You think it’s better to have no history at all? THERESA: And this woman wrote about a lesbian butch? JESS: Yes. (Pause.) Well, she didn’t use those words… THERESA: (Hands up.) Don’t want to hear it. JESS: Yeah, well, maybe that’s because this is my history and not yours. THERESA: Oh, what? So now you’re more Indian than I am? JESS: I’m butch. That’s a tribe, too. THERESA: No, it’s not. JESS: Not to you, maybe. (Pause.) And my butch history gets erased either because people are ashamed of us, or because people want to protect us from being shamed. Lozen almost got left out of history, because the Chircahuas were afraid that if they talked about her, white people would think Lozen was promiscuous for riding with the men. THERESA: Look, Jess… It’s still white history, and the whole comic-book, superhero thing is whiteboy culture. Superpowers and world domination—Lone Ranger and Tonto… JESS: It’s white-boy culture, because it’s been white boys writing it. And, yeah, superpowers, because that gives people hope. Ghost dancing…? THERESA: And you see where that got us. 5

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JESS: (Escalating.) …. because when you’re a prisoner, when you’re a captive, when you’re outnumbered every single day and there’s nothing—nothing that you can do, nothing you can even think about doing to save yourself or even protect yourself, when there’s nothing you have except stories… stories and your imagination, those things just may keep you alive for another minute, another hour, another day… (THERESA, concerned, takes a step toward her. JESS breaks off suddenly and takes a breath.) And if you can’t keep yourself alive, then there’s nothing to hope for at all. And hope—believe it or not—hope is a superpower. THERESA: (Realizing she stepped on a landmine.) Babe, I’m sorry. (JESS has turned back to her drawing. THERESA becomes angry.) So here’s a story… (JESS looks up.) It’s about a real Indian, too. The superheroine hears about a bad guy and so she goes after him, using her GPS superpowers to find him, but then she can’t kill him or even hurt him, because he has something called rights, which she has to remember to read to him. Puts a real crimp in her style. Never heard Batman do that. But she reads him his rights and then she puts him under arrest. And all this time, he is calling her names. So she just turns on her superpower filter, so she can’t hear him. And then she takes him in the Rezmobile to the station, where he gets bailed out by his girlfriend, or his wife, or his mother, or his sister. And then nobody files charges. Or maybe they do, but then they change their mind, because somebody’s cousin, or grandfather, or girlfriend, or mother, or aunt has talked to them. But then maybe there is some kind of divine intervention, and the asshole actually gets tried and indicted. Wow. So then he goes to prison, but they can’t lock him up for more than a year, because that’s the maximum sentence that the tribal courts of our sovereign nation are allowed to hand down… Oh, but meanwhile, our superheroine has been using her magic computer superpowers to fill out dozens of forms and reports— 6

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JESS: (Cutting her off.) Okay. TERESA: That’s the story of a real Indian crime fighter. Somebody should write a comic book about me. JESS: Graphic novel. (THERESA heads back to the kitchen. JESS watches her.) You arrested someone today…? (THERESA just shakes her head.) Let me guess… Your sister’s husband…? (THERESA chucks her empty beer bottle into the trash.) Is she okay? THERESA: Oh, yeah. She’s always okay. JESS: What about the kid? THERESA: Onawah [pronounced “OH-nah-wah”] wasn’t home. Nobody knows where she is. JESS: If she’s like me when I was twelve, she’s got herself a hiding place. (Silence.) What happened? THERESA: (Sighs.) Neighbors heard them fighting—shouting and throwing furniture—and then gunshots. Of course, Marie is going to deny everything. JESS: I don’t get why women marry men like that. THERESA: You would think that seeing what our mother went through would have been enough. (Silence.) JESS: Theresa… (THERESA turns.) Maybe it’s time you quit the tribal police… THERESA: Yeah, that’ll solve it.

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JESS: Not talking about solving anything. Talking about you not having to do stuff every day that keeps reminding you of what you went through as a kid. THERESA: (A long pause.) So what’s her superpower? JESS: Lozen’s? THERESA: Yeah. JESS: You’re just going to have to wait for the movie to come out. THERESA: (Pause.) Come on, Jess… JESS: (Shaking her head.) Sorry. THERESA: Hint. JESS: (Considering.) Hands. THERESA: She can catch bullets. JESS: Don’t think she would have surrendered. THERESA: She… I don’t know. JESS: Come on… THERESA: I don’t know. I’m tired… JESS: Two-Spirit butch… hands… THERESA: She makes women very happy…? (JESS laughs. THERESA crosses to her and they embrace.) What is it? (JESS steps back and holds her hands out in front of her, palms out and fingers up.) What? (JESS begins to rotate slowly.) 8

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JESS: She would say a prayer to Ussen, and then she would hold her arms up like this, and when she was facing the direction of the enemy, her palms would get red and tingle. And she could tell how far away they were by the strength of the sensation. THERESA: How about this? (Holding up her cell phone.) I have this little box that starts tingling and then I hold it up to my ear and it tells me the exact street address— JESS: You know what? Nobody is ever going to write a graphic novel about you. (She grabs the cell phone.) THERESA: Comic book. (Grabbing for JESS’ arm.) JESS: That too—(The women, wrestling playfully, fall to the floor. Suddenly the door bursts open and MARIE crashes in. She is THERESA’s older sister. She has been drinking and is drunk and very angry. THERESA and JESS freeze.) MARIE: Theresa! (THERESA, embarrassed, stands.) What do you think you’re doing? JESS: Knock much? MARIE: I’m not talking to you. I’m talking to my sister. To my baby sister… who thinks she knows everything— THERESA: Marie— MARIE: Look at this! Disgusting! JESS: Where’s Onawah?

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MARIE: Hey, you don’t even speak my daughter’s name— okay? Because she’s got nothing to do with you! Theresa’s her aunt… but you… nothing, no relation! Okay? JESS: (To THERESA) I’m gone. (She grabs her sketch pad, brushes past MARIE, and exits.) MARIE: (Shouting after her.) You got nothing to say to my daughter! You hear? (JESS has exited. MARIE turns to THERESA.) And you—arresting Rick? THERESA: Marie, I had to. We got a call. MARIE: Yeah, a call from the neighbors. They don’t like him, that’s all! Why don’t you ask me? Ask me if there’s a problem. Because I’ll tell you, there is. And it’s having neighbors who want to butt into anyone’s business— THERESA: He was firing a gun— MARIE: How do you know? Maybe it was me? Maybe it was Onawah? Were you there? And did it hurt anyone? See any blood? Maybe he was making a point. THERESA: He was scaring people. MARIE: He made his point. THERESA: What do you want? MARIE: I want you to leave my family alone. I want you to stop coming over and arresting Rick any time— THERESA: (Interrupting.) Fine! You don’t want me to arrest Rick, tell him to stop doing shit that’s illegal.

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MARIE: Oh, listen to Miss Law-and-Order. Don’t go all “Miami Vice” on me! Big city cop! This is a reservation! Locking up your own brother-in-law! Where’s your sense of family? THERESA: Where’s yours? Where’s your daughter? MARIE: Don’t talk to me about Onawah! What do you know about raising kids? And don’t forget I raised you! You think I’m a lousy mother, look in the mirror! Don’t you lecture me about family… you and that… that… THERESA: Her name is Jess. MARIE: That lesbian. THERESA: I’m lesbian, too. MARIE: No, you’re not. You’re my little sister, I raised you and I can tell you—you’re not one of them. If you hadn’t gone off to college and started spending time with all those white girls— THERESA: Stop it! MARIE: And then you come back with this... lesbian, and you think you’re all better than us, and you want to lock up your own family— THERESA: I don’t make the laws. MARIE: Don’t talk to me about law—! How about the law of God? What about that? What about breaking the law of God? THERESA: Marie, go home.

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MARIE: Don’t like to hear that, do you? Just because you left the Church, you think that’s going to save you from God’s law? Homosexuality is a sin— THERESA: What about divorce? Isn’t Rick your second husband? And what about abortion and birth control—? MARIE: … a sin! You and that lesbian— THERESA: That’s it! That’s it—get out! MARIE: You know you’re going to hell— THERESA: Good-bye—(Shoving her sister out the door.) MARIE: (The last word.) To hell! (THERESA slams the door shut and locks it. MARIE is heard outside.) I will pray for you! (THERESA leans her back against the door, exhausted.) Blackout End of Scene

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Scene 2 Drumming is heard. As it ends, lights come up on a desert mesa, not far from the trailer. The sun is starting to set… a spectacular Arizona sunset. JESS sits sketching on a tablet. ONAWAH, a young butch N’dee girl enters. On the cusp of puberty, she is shut down emotionally from repeated exposure to violence. She comes up silently behind JESS, who, suddenly sensing a presence, spins around and knocks her to the ground. JESS: Oh, jeez, Onawah… Don’t do that! I could have really hurt you! ONAWAH: Sorry. (She turns to leave.) JESS. No, don’t go… (She’s already going.) Onawah! (She turns back.) Just don’t sneak up on me. I’ve got… reflexes. That’s all. ONAWAH: Sorry. JESS: Hey, sit down. (ONAWAH returns.) I heard about them arresting Rick… ONAWAH. Yeah. JESS: Were you there? ONAWAH: Yeah. JESS: Scared? (ONAWAH shrugs.) Yeah. Duh. You know you can always come over here… You know that, right? (Pause.) ONAWAH: What are you drawing? 13

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JESS: A graphic novel. (A beat.) A comic book. ONAWAH: Yeah? JESS: It’s about a Chiricahua superhero. A woman. (She tips the tablet in ONAWAH’s direction. ONAWAH studies the drawing.) ONAWAH: That’s a man. JESS: No, see… Breasts. ONAWAH: That’s weird. JESS: What’s weird? ONAWAH: Looking like a guy with breasts. (JESS gives ONAWAH a look. ONAWAH looks away in embarrassment.) JESS: Her name is Lozen. It means “Little Sister.” And that’s her girlfriend, Dahteste. [Pronounced “tah-DOST-eh.”] ONAWAH: You should just make her a guy. JESS: Why? ONAWAH: It’s better. JESS: Why is that better? (A long pause.) ONAWAH: She won’t have to have periods. JESS: Because they’re messy? ONAWAH: (With vehement disgust.) They’re gross! JESS: Yeah, but they’re powerful. 14

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ONAWAH: No, they’re not. JESS: What about the Sunrise Ceremony? ONAWAH: It’s stupid. JESS: Wanna know something really stupid? In the old days, even when we were being chased by soldiers, if one of the girls in the tribe started to bleed for the first time, the N’dees would stop running and figure out some kind of diversion, just so the tribe could hold the ceremony. (ONAWAH shakes her head.) Yeah, because being able to create life is even more awesome than being able to defend it. (ONAWAH looks away.) Hey—put your hands up like this… (She shows ONAWAH how to hold her hands up, palms out.) ONAWAH: Why? JESS: So I can draw you. ONAWAH: Why? JESS: Because Lozen had this superpower in her hands. When she held her hands up like this and they tingled, she knew her enemy was approaching. ONAWAH: Really? (She puts her hands up.) JESS: That’s what they say. (Suddenly they hear MARIE offstage.) MARIE: (Calling from offstage.) Onawah…! ONAWAH: (Deadpan.) They’re tingling… (JESS laughs and ONAWAH smiles.) 15

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MARIE: (Entering.) Onawah! Where have you been? ONAWAH: (Head down.) I don’t know. MARIE: Didn’t you hear me calling? ONAWAH: No. MARIE: Go home. Go on! (MARIE watches ONAWAH exit. She turns drunkenly to JESS.) You! I talked to my sister, and you are not to speak to Onawah. She is not allowed to visit you anymore, either. Do you understand? (JESS looks at her.) You leave her alone! (MARIE stumbles off. JESS watches her leave. The faint sound of drumming is heard as the sky turns a brilliant red and then fades.) Blackout End of Scene

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Scene 3 Back at the trailer, THERESA is setting the table for dinner. There is a large bowl of chili on the table. JESS enters. THERESA: (Looking up.) She’s gone. JESS: I know. I met her out on the mesa. THERESA: I’m sorry… When Marie has been drinking— JESS: (Cutting her off.) When she hasn’t, she’s just the same. I saw Onawah. THERESA: How was she? JESS: She wouldn’t say. (A long pause.) THERESA: Not surprised. JESS: You think she’s being abused? THERESA: Onawah? I think my sister is probably not spending a lot of time with her, but I wouldn’t say that she was being abused. JESS: (Shaking her head.) It’s not right. THERESA: Yeah, but taking a kid away from her family is a big deal. Onawah has her school friends, and she has us… JESS: It’s not right! THERESA: Here… Have some of your chili— JESS: There should be a place where children can go… 17

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THERESA: Yeah. They’re called foster homes. And historically they were called white foster homes. JESS: You know what I mean. THERESA: If you didn’t have your imagination, you might have to make your peace with this world like the rest of us. JESS: What’s that supposed to mean? THERESA: You have this place you can go in your head where the good guys have superpowers, and the bad guys get what they deserve, and everything turns out the way you want it to, and I think that’s great. I do. But I think it makes it hard for you to understand the rest of us who don’t have that magic place. JESS: You saying I don’t understand you? THERESA: Yeah, I am. I complain about my job and you ask me why I don’t just quit. Or my sister. Why doesn’t she just stop drinking? Or Onawah… yeah, let’s just send her off to that safe and healthy place for kids… wherever that is. You’re always imagining these other endings for people. Meanwhile, we’re all just trying to play the cards we’ve been dealt, hon. And sometimes we don’t like it, but we don’t torture ourselves by making up these fantasy hands that you do. JESS: Cards? Okay… How about this…? You’re so busy walking around the table and making sure that everybody is playing by the rules, you don’t even notice that it’s a bad deck. You take the dealer away, it’s still going to be a bad deck. What’s the point— THERESA: (Cutting her off.) It’s what we have! That’s the point. It’s what we have. And, no, Onawah doesn’t have a 18

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happy family. She has the family that she has. And she’s learning some things… some good, some bad. That’s what I’m saying, Jess, it’s life. And it doesn’t interest you half as much as the world of your imagination, where we all look like a bunch of losers to you. JESS: That’s not true. (THERESA looks at her. JESS looks away.) Marie told Onawah she can’t come over here anymore. THERESA: I know. (Pause.) And we have to respect that. JESS: “The rules?” THERESA: The law. JESS: Yeah. (She reaches for the bowl of chili.) Blackout End of Scene

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Scene 4 Lights come up on the trailer again. JESS is asleep on the couch. It’s dark. Slowly the outside door opens and a figure enters silently. She moves slowly to the couch. Suddenly JESS is up and screaming. The figure freezes. JESS: I’ll kill you! I’ll blow your fucking head off—! Don’t fucking move! Don’t you fucking move… I’ve got a fucking shotgun and I’ll blow your fucking brains out—! (Suddenly THERESA appears in the bedroom doorway and throws on a light. ONAWAH stands frozen by the door. JESS is holding a broom, still screaming and hyperventilating.) Jesus! What the fuck are you doing? Jesus fucking Christ… I could have killed you… You know that? What the fuck are you doing? THERESA: (Moving quickly to ONAWAH, speaking to JESS as she passes her.) It’s okay, Jess… it’s okay. Onawah, honey. Here… Come here… (She wraps her arms around ONAWAH, who is in shock. JESS drops into a chair, holding her head. THERESA turns.) Jess… babe… why don’t you get your meds. (JESS looks up at her with empty eyes.) It’s okay, babe… Everyone’s okay. Just go take your meds. (There is a moment of silence. JESS rises and exits into the bedroom. THERESA turns to ONAWAH.) Pretty scary, huh? ONAWAH: (Terrified.) I didn’t do anything… THERESA: I know, honey. Aunt Jess has… she has… these reflexes. It’s not your fault… Something bad happened to her— ONAWAH: (Anxious.) What? THERESA: It was a long time ago… before you were born. You don’t need to be afraid. 20

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ONAWAH: She said she was going to kill me. THERESA: (Sighing). Honey, what Aunt Jess has is called Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. She wasn’t talking to you. She was talking to someone in her past. Sometimes people who have had really bad things happen to them get trapped like that. Some part of their brain thinks the bad thing is still happening. So, sometimes, when Aunt Jess is startled or wakes up suddenly, her body remembers, and that’s why she acts so scary. ONAWAH: Is she always going to be like that? THERESA: (A pause.) “Always” is a big word. (Pause.) Jess loves you, Onawah. She would never try to hurt you. (She holds ONAWAH and strokes her hair.) Your mom fighting with Rick again…? It must be after midnight… ONAWAH: (Quickly.) Yeah. THERESA: Want to sleep on the couch? (Pause.) It’s okay. Jess was just sleeping out here because she was working late… (Just then JESS enters with a bottle of pills. ONAWAH stares at her. THERESA speaks to JESS.) I was just telling Onawah about your PTSD. (Distracted, JESS sets the pills on the counter. She is too ashamed to speak.) It’s okay. She understands you didn’t know it was her. (THERESA turns to ONAWAH.) You want a blanket? JESS: (Quickly.) I’ll get one. (Forgetting the pills, she exits back into the bedroom.) THERESA: You going to be okay, now?

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ONAWAH: Yeah. (JESS returns with a blanket. THERESA takes it and ONAWAH lies down. THERESA tucks her in. JESS stands awkwardly to the side.) THERESA: You want a light on? ONAWAH: No, that’s okay. THERESA: Maybe your Aunt Jess will make us some Denver omelets in the morning… ? (An awkward pause.) Okay… You sure you’re all right? ONAWAH: Yeah. (She turns her face away.) THERESA: We love you, Onawah. (She exits, turning out the light. JESS follows her. After a moment, ONAWAH gets up. Seeing the pills, she crosses to the sink, picks up a glass and begins to take the pills, one after another. Sound of drumming, as the lights fade.) Blackout End of Scene

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Scene 5 Lights come up on the mesa, immediately after the previous scene. JESS is sitting in the dark, smoking a cigarette. She wears her clothing from the previous scene. THERESA enters. She wears her pajamas from the previous scene. JESS looks up, startled. She puts the cigarette out. THERESA: You don’t have to do that. JESS: I know you hate it. (THERESA sits. There’s a long silence.) I just keep thinking about this scene… I keep seeing it, over and over… THERESA: What scene? JESS: Skeleton Canyon. (Pause.) It’s from my graphic novel, Little Sister… THERESA: (Startled.) “Little Sister?” Why did you name it that? JESS: That’s what Lozen’s name means. She was the little sister of the warrior Victorio. He used to say, “Lozen is my right hand… strong as a man, braver than most…” THERESA: (After a pause.) What’s the scene you can’t get? (Long pause.) Jess? JESS: Do you really want to know? THERESA: Yeah.

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JESS: You’re thinking that I have just terrorized your niece and threatened to kill her, and now all I can think about is some scene from a comic book… THERESA: (Angry.) You don’t get to draw a balloon over my head. I’m not one of your characters. You have no idea what I’m thinking. JESS: Yeah, but that was it, wasn’t it? THERESA: What am I thinking? I don’t know what I’m thinking. I’m thinking, “I want to be with her. I want her to know she’s not alone.” Maybe that’s too simple for you. JESS: No. Not too simple. Too hard, maybe. THERESA: And that’s what’s in the balloon over your head? JESS: (A long pause.) It would have been a night like this… in Skeleton Canyon… with the sky full of stars. Maybe a fire… and Lozen and Dahteste sitting together, like us right now… Listening to the sound of the horses scuffling, and the coyotes calling… And knowing that they might all be shot in the morning when they surrender and lay down their guns. Knowing they might never see the sky again. THERESA: Heartbreaking. JESS: But they didn’t have to surrender. See, that’s the thing… They could have just gone. They could have just taken their horses and left. Nobody was going to stop them. They didn’t have to give up. Why didn’t they go? THERESA: Are you thinking of leaving? JESS: (Pause.) Being a prisoner is like being reminded every day that you can’t be who you are, who you want to be. 24

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(THERESA reaches for her, but JESS moves away.) It’s like I’m still a prisoner. I’m always a prisoner. A sudden move, or a door slams, or the way the light comes through a curtain… and I’m right back there. Right back where they want me. Forever. It never stops. It never stops. (THERESA reaches again, but JESS repels her.) They won! They fucking won! They win every fucking day. I’m never free! I’m like some fucking dog on a leash, pretending I’m free until I go too far, and then I feel that yank again… that chain. I feel that fucking chain. (Silence.) You know how Lozen died? (Pause.) Tuberculosis. She died of tuberculosis, a prisoner. In a swamp. A high desert Indian in a fucking swamp in Florida. (Pause.) Because she didn’t leave! (Raising her voice.) Why didn’t she go? (She holds her head.) Something is happening. Something is happening to me. THERESA: Babe… what do you want me to do? JESS: Nothing. There’s nothing anyone can do. I forgot my fucking meds. I’ll go take them. (She exits abruptly. THERESA leans back against a rock, covering her face with her hands. Suddenly she hears JESS scream offstage. JESS is yelling.) Theresa! Get the car! Get the car! Hurry! Blackout End of Scene

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Scene 6 The trailer, several hours later. It’s now late morning. JESS and THERESA enter, wearing the clothing from the previous scene. THERESA throws her keys on the table and crosses to the kitchen area to make coffee. JESS collapses on the couch, lying on the empty bottle of pills. When she sees what it is, she hurls it across the room. THERESA turns. THERESA: She’s okay. She’s going to be fine. JESS: Can’t believe I left those out. THERESA: Hey… look at me… I was the one taking calls about her family every other week… How come I didn’t remember how miserable my own childhood was? I used to want to die… Look at me… doing what everyone did when I was a kid… Looking the other way. JESS: I did the same thing… Waiting for her to say something. Did I ever say anything? Shit… THERESA: Listen, try to get some sleep. We’ll go back to the hospital this afternoon. (MARIE barges in.) Marie— MARIE: No, Theresa, this is not about you. (She crosses to JESS, getting up in her face.) This is about you—! JESS: I’m sorry. They were my meds and I should have been more careful— MARIE: No! Not about your meds. (To THERESA.) They told me at the hospital that Onawah has been sexually abused. THERESA: What? 26

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MARIE: (Turning back to JESS.) And so I ask my daughter who it is and she says it’s you! THERESA: What? (JESS stands up.) MARIE: (To THERESA.) And because you are family, I am here. I am giving her a chance to leave before I call the police. And the only reason why I am doing that is because you are my little sister! JESS: No. THERESA: I can’t believe Onawah— JESS: (Cutting her off.) Of course she didn’t. This is about your sister protecting her husband. That’s what it is, isn’t it? (Turning to MARIE.) When the hospital examination turned up evidence of sexual abuse, you thought, if you could find a scapegoat… and get that scapegoat to leave the reservation, you could protect Rick. (Turning back to THERESA.) That’s what this is about. MARIE: (Stonewalling.) My daughter told me it was you. JESS: Liar. MARIE: Wait and see… They are going to lock you up. THERESA: Marie… You know it wasn’t Jess. What are you doing? MARIE: I am protecting my daughter… THERESA: Onawah is never going to lie. MARIE: Onawah knows the truth, and she knows that the truth is that her family—her mother—comes first. 27

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THERESA: Don’t do this to her. Oh, my god, Marie. Don’t do this to her. MARIE: (To JESS.) You better get going. Because I am going outside now to call Theresa’s boss, who happens to be my cousin. Yeah. My cousin! And I’m going to make a report! (She exits. THERESA turns to JESS.) JESS: I don’t think I can stay. THERESA: Babe… JESS: They will lock me up. You know that. They’ll have to. THERESA: I can bail you out. JESS: What if they set the bail high? I can’t be locked up. You know that. THERESA: But it’s just a set-up… Onawah won’t— JESS: She might. She might say it was me. She’s a kid. This is her mother. I lied. Kids lie. They do what they’re told. Theresa, I could go to prison. (A pause.) I can’t do this… I can’t do this again. THERESA: No, Jess. It’s not going to happen. Rick’s a drunk and a drug addict. He’s got a record a mile long. Nobody’s going to believe— JESS: (Panicking.) I’m a lesbian! I look like one! People are going to be like Marie. They are going to protect the family. Look at me! I’m the perfect scapegoat. I’m on psychiatric disability. Who’s going to speak for me? I’m freelance… no employer. I’m not from this reservation. Your family’s not going to say anything good about me. I gotta go… 28

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THERESA: If you go, then everyone will believe Marie. JESS: You don’t understand. THERESA: You’re just panicking… MARIE: (Entering with her cell phone.) They are coming… (Terrified, JESS turns to exit.) THERESA: Jess! No! Wait… don’t go! (JESS grabs the keys and exits. Sound of a car driving away. THERESA turns to MARIE.) Oh, my god, Marie… You don’t know what you have done. MARIE: I did what I had to do, “little sister.” THERESA: You know Jess isn’t the perpetrator— MARIE: Well, she ran off pretty quick, didn’t she? Maybe that’s your idea of family— THERESA: She ran off because when she was ten years old, she was pulled into a van by a gang of white boys and chained up and raped for three days! She ran off because she has PTSD so bad, she goes crazy at the idea of being locked up! You don’t know what that’s like— MARIE: (Enraged.) No? You think I don’t know? Three days? Just three days? How about every night… how about every night for years and years and years? No, see, you don’t know anything about that, do you, little sister, because nobody ever climbed into your bed and did that to you, and that’s because someone was protecting you, someone was making sure that you would never know what that was about! THERESA: What are you talking about? 29

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MARIE: No, Miss Law Enforcement! You don’t know anything about that— THERESA: Who? MARIE: Who…? Who? See, you have to ask, because I protected you. So you could have a family! THERESA: (Whispering.) Daddy? (MARIA says nothing but glares at her.) MARIE: I know how to protect my family! I don’t need any help from you— THERESA: Why didn’t— MARIE: (Cutting her off.) What were you going to do? Lock up our father? You know what they did to him at the Indian school? You want to talk about PTSD? Yeah, lock him up! Lock us all up for what they did to us. Put a fence around the whole reservation… Baby sister, I feel sorry for you. Maybe you don’t have PTSD, but you don’t have family. You don’t have nothing! (She exits.) Blackout End of Scene

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Scene 7 Lights come up on the mesa. JESS is sitting there. Faint drumming is heard. Suddenly she stands, holding her hands out in front of her.) JESS: (Slowly reciting Lozen’s prayer:) Upon this earth On which we live Ussen has Power; This Power is mine For locating the enemy. I search for that Enemy Which only Ussen the Great Can show to me. (JESS turns slowly in a circle. She stands for a moment, and then, slowly, she rotates her hands around so that they are facing toward her. Realizing that the enemy is within her own mind, she moves her hands slowly toward her face. Suddenly she drops to her knees, holding her head. The drumming continues. Slowly, she pulls her sketch pad out and begins to draw as the drumming mounts.) Blackout End of Scene

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Scene 8 Lights come up on ONAWAH, in a hospital bed. It’s late afternoon of the same day. She is staring numbly in front of her. The room and the bed are glaringly white and sterile. JESS enters, carrying a bag. JESS: Hey—(ONAWAH looks at her.) Hey, Onawah… ONAWAH: Jess! (She is excited to see JESS, and also ashamed and confused.) JESS: How are you feeling? ONAWAH: I thought you had gone. Mom told me you left the reservation. JESS: Did she say why? ONAWAH: She said you felt guilty because it was your pills… but it wasn’t your fault. JESS: Not your fault either. You know that? (ONAWAH looks down.) Want to know where I went? (Pause.) I went out to the mesa, where I go to draw. (Pause.) And I made you something… (She takes a sketch notebook out of her bag.) ONAWAH: What is it? JESS: It’s sacred. ONAWAH: It’s a comic book! JESS: It’s sacred art. And I made it for you, and I’m going to tell you why. One time, when I was in the worst trouble I’d ever been in, comic books saved my life. (ONAWAH looks skeptical.) They did. I was in a place where I was being hurt 32

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and I couldn’t get away, but there were comic books there— superhero comic books, and so I read them over and over, and I started pretending that I was a superhero, and then I started believing I was a superhero, and that I was going to escape. And you know what…? That kept me alive, living that fantasy. ONAWAH: And what happened? JESS: The police finally showed up. But that’s not what saved my spirit. The comic books did that. ONAWAH: Is it about that woman? JESS: Lozen? Yeah. It’s about one of her adventures. It doesn’t have the lettering, because I was in a hurry, but I can tell you what’s going on. Want me to do that? ONAWAH: Yeah. (JESS starts to pull up a chair.) You can get in the bed. (JESS hesitates, and then climbs into the bed next to her. ONAWAH leans into her.) JESS: Okay, see this river…? It’s the Rio Grande, and Lozen and her people were crossing it, trying to get away from the Mexican soldiers… See… That’s them over the hill there. I didn’t know what Mexican soldier uniforms looked like, so I made them really small… (Nudging JESS.) Tricks of the trade. (ONAWAH smiles. JESS turns the page.) And this woman is pregnant. ONAWAH: Duh. JESS: Yeah. Well, anyway, she’s just going into labor, and so she can’t escape with them. I didn’t know how to draw that, so that’s why I moved her over behind the sagebrush. ONAWAH: Tricks of the trade? 33

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JESS: (Smiling.) Yeah… But, see, here’s Lozen and she’s talking to her brother Victorio. He’s the leader of the group, and she’s volunteering to stay behind and take care of the woman. And he’s staring at the Mexican soldiers— ONAWAH: (Deadpan.) How does he know they’re Mexican soldiers, if he can’t see their uniforms? JESS: Oh, yeah, you’re right. What if it’s a bunch of white people chasing him, because they want to give us back our land…? (JESS turns to ONAWAH, who tries to keep a straight face, but finally looks away.) So here’s Victorio and the rest of the band riding off in a big cloud of dust. ONAWAH: Is the cloud of dust because you didn’t know what a horse’s ass looks like? (Deadpan, she turns to JESS.) JESS: (Equally deadpan.) Oh, I know a horse’s ass when I see one. (She looks at ONAWAH, who smiles and turns away.) So this is Lozen finding a cave where the woman can hide, and then here she is holding the woman’s hand while she pushes… ONAWAH: (She laughs.) Look at her face! JESS: Hey, you try drawing without a model! ONAWAH: What’s that? JESS: Come on! You know what that is… (Pause.) It’s the baby’s head coming out… (ONAWAH makes a sound of disgust.) What? Think that’s disgusting? Do you know what the name is for people who are ashamed of their history? (Silence.) Yeah, well, neither do they. (Returning to the graphic.) This is something you’re never going to see in a DC Comic… Because this is a woman’s superpower. Creating life. I mean, think about it, Onawah. She is creating life. Not like 34

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Frankenstein or anything, but a beautiful, whole, perfect child. Like you. (ONAWAH looks away.) And here’s Lozen stealing horses for them. She was a great horse thief. And here she’s riding with the woman, getting her back to a reservation where she and the baby will be safe. What do you think? ONAWAH: It’s good. JESS: But that’s not the end of the story. (She closes the sketchpad.) After Lozen took the woman to the reservation, she went back to look for Victorio and her people. And she found out there had been a big ambush where most of them got killed or taken captive, and her brother was dead. And some of her people said that if Lozen had been with them, the ambush wouldn’t have happened because she had that superpower in her hands… remember? ONAWAH: So she should have gone with her brother? JESS: Well, that’s why I wanted to give you the story. So you could decide. If she had gone with them, then the mother and her baby would have died. ONAWAH: Yeah, but do the math. JESS: Yeah, but see—here’s the thing… What if superheroes don’t do the math? What if that’s what makes them superheroes? (She takes a long look at ONAWAH.) Hmm? You get what I’m saying? This is important. (ONAWAH nods slowly.) Maybe it was “doing the math” that got everything so screwed up in the first place, because the things that are real don’t count in the white man’s world. (ONAWAH is staring at her.) So… the pregnant woman needed a midwife, and that had to be a woman, because men weren’t allowed to do that work. But she also needed a warrior who could steal horses and help her get home. That was the beauty of Lozen. She was both, because she was Two-Spirit. There was nobody else who 35

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could do that job. (Pause.) She was Two-Spirit like me, Onawah. (A beat.) And maybe like you. (ONAWAH looks down. Suddenly MARIE enters.) MARIE: You! What are you doing here? JESS: I’m reading my niece a story. MARIE: She’s not your niece. Get out. Get out, or I will call the police! ONAWAH: The police…? MARIE: (To JESS.) I’m not kidding. (She takes out her cell phone.) JESS: You don’t have to bother. Because that’s my next stop. MARIE: You better get going! JESS (Turning to ONAWAH.) I’ll be back. MARIE: No, you won’t! You won’t ever be back! (JESS exits.) ONAWAH: (Upset.) Why are you calling the police? MARIE: (Snapping the phone shut and reaching out her hand for the comic book.) Give me that! (ONAWAH hesitates.) Did you hear me? (ONAWAH hands over the comic. MARIE looks at it briefly and throws it in the trash. ONAWAH says nothing.) Now, listen. I have to talk to you about something. (ONAWAH looks very frightened.) When they brought you into the hospital and you were unconscious, the doctors examined you, and they told me that someone had sexually abused you—(ONAWAH starts to say something.) Don’t interrupt me! Now, I know that when this happens, children 36

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can’t remember, and I’m sure that’s why you never said anything—Don’t interrupt, Onawah! This is very important. And when the child says she doesn’t remember, everyone understands that she is telling the truth, and she doesn’t have to say any more than that. Because they know that a child can be confused, or she can be angry and exaggerate. They know that a child can say things that will tear a family apart, so it’s perfectly honest to say you don’t remember, and everyone will believe you. Do you understand? (Silence.) Onawah, do you understand what I’m saying? (ONAWAH nods.) Now, we’re all going to make sure that whatever happened never happens again, but that is going to depend on whether or not you say the right thing. Do you understand me? (Pause.) Onawah? (Pause.) So when the social worker asks you about it, what are you going to tell her? (A long silence.) ONAWAH: (Looking away.) I don’t remember. (Drumming is heard. It continues to build to the end of the scene.) MARIE: That’s right! And if they try to talk to you when I’m not here, you’re going to tell them that you want your mother. (She crosses to ONAWAH and hugs her.) That’s all you have to say. ONAWAH: (Quietly.) It was Rick. (MARIE pulls away.) MARIE: What? ONAWAH: It was Rick. MARIE: Your father would never do that. (Silence.) You know that… Your father would never do that. (Pause.) You know, Onawah, if you say that—if you say something not true like that, they will take you away. They will take you off the reservation, and they will put you in some white person’s house… some white person’s house who doesn’t know anything about you, and I won’t be able to help you. Nobody 37

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will be able to help you, because you won’t have a family anymore. Is that what you want? (A long silence. Suddenly MARIE becomes very angry.) That is the most selfish thing I ever heard! Do you know how many people are going to be hurt if you do that? How can you be so selfish? (Suddenly ONAWAH leaps out of bed.) Where are you going? (ONAWAH is crossing to the trashcan to retrieve JESS’s sketchbook. When MARIE realizes what she is doing, she tries to intercept her.) MARIE: No! (MARIE runs after her. They wrestle over the sketchbook.) Give me that! (MARIE grabs it, but ONAWAH grabs it back.) ONAWAH: It was Rick! MARIE: You want to destroy our family? Is that what you want? ONAWAH: (Clutching the book.) It was Rick! (As the drumming becomes louder, she begins to shout.) It was Rick! It was Rick! MARIE: You want them to take you away— ONAWAH: It was Rick! MARIE: Never see me again? Is that what you really want—? (She begins to hit her daughter. The drumming is very loud.) Give me that book! (As MARIE is battering ONAWAH, two NURSES enter. The drumming stops abruptly. MARIE freezes. ONAWAH turns to the NURSES and speaks quietly.) It was Rick. Blackout End of Scene 38

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Scene 9 Lights come up on the living room of the trailer again. It’s evening of the same day. THERESA is on the phone when JESS walks in. THERESA looks up. THERESA: (Into the phone.) Yes… Yes… Thank you. (She hangs up and turns to JESS.) Marie has just been arrested, and there’s a warrant out for Rick… Onawah— JESS: I know. I was just at the police station. THERESA: (Surprised.) What? JESS: Turns out Marie never filed charges against me… THERESA: But I thought you were leaving the rez — JESS: So did I. Who knew I had superpowers? THERESA: (A tired smile.) Well, I could have told you that. JESS: Are you going to apply for custody? (THERESA hesitates.) What? You’re not? THERESA: (Hesitating.) Jess, when Marie was here she told me something I never knew… She told me that our father used to sexually abuse her. For years. She said she allowed it in order to protect me… I didn’t know what to say. (There’s a long silence.) Jess…? JESS: So you’re afraid that Marie is going to accuse us of breaking up her family and stealing her daughter? (Silence.) Doing the math, aren’t you? THERESA: What? 42

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JESS: (Dropping into a chair.) Yeah, she’s going to say that. Rick’s family’s going to say it, too. They’re going to say that you’ve been busting up their family for years, arresting Rick. And they’re going to say I’m a bad influence… that I’m crazy. They’re going to say that. And worse. But, here’s the thing, Theresa—Somebody’s got to break the chain. Every generation keeps getting traumatized by the previous generation’s trauma, and it just keeps compounding. Look at Onawah! She’s still carrying all that unresolved grief from the original genocide, and then the captivity and starvation of the next generation, and then the cultural genocide of the generation after that—and then the Indian schools of her grandparents and now the violence and alcoholism of her parents… And you know they’re going to try to treat it like it’s an individual problem—a mental health issue! And they’ll have her talk to someone who doesn’t know anything about her culture, and they’ll give her a pill—as if she hasn’t had enough of those! Nobody’s going to tell her it’s perfectly sane to be crazy when they’ve done everything they can to break you down physically, mentally, spiritually, and culturally. (THERESA is silent.) Nothing is going to change for us— nothing!—until the children can heal! THERESA: (Looking away.) We’ll have to leave the reservation. You know that. If we get custody of Onawah, the families aren’t going to let us stay. (Pause.) And if we leave, I won’t have a job. JESS: And that’s the choice. THERESA: What choice? JESS: The one that Lozen and Dahteste made in Skeleton Canyon. THERESA: To lose everything… 43

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JESS: To stand with the children. (There is a long silence.) THERESA: (Sighing.) There are no good choices anymore. JESS: Maybe there never were. (Slowly the lights fade.) Blackout End of Play

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