Faculty Lecture Series Resumes with Talk by Dale Seeds

Professor of theatre and dance to discuss little-known Dakota War of 1862 on Sept. 19

September 3, 2013 by John Finn

WOOSTER, Ohio — Dale Seeds, professor of theatre and dance at The College of Wooster, will present “Cards and Letters from the Dakota War: The Play that Couldn’t be Written and the One That Was” at the first Faculty at Large lecture of the fall semester on Thursday, Sept. 19, at 11 a.m. in Lean Lecture Room of Wishart Hall (303 E. University St.) at The College of Wooster. Admission is free and open to the public.

Seeds will discuss the U.S. Dakota War of 1862 — one of the shortest, most violent, complex, and least-known conflicts in American history. The war resulted in at least 600 white civilian causalities, the largest mass execution in U.S. history of 38 Dakota warriors, the subsequent forced march and internment of 1,700 Dakota (mainly women, children, and elderly men) and the exile, (some would say ethnic cleansing) of Dakota people from the state of Minnesota, according to Seeds.

Against this backdrop, Seeds will talk about how the play follows a young Dakota woman who discovers broken fragments of her past through a combination of cyberspace, her grandmother’s memories, and an encounter with a white researcher.

The cards and letters mentioned in the title refer to photographs of Dakota men and women taken during this period and the recently translated letters written by Dakota prisoners from 1863-1866. “Together,” says Seeds, “these have been described as instruments of survival for Dakota families and their culture.”

The play will have its first staged reading Sept. 27-28 in Shoolroy Theatre at 8:15 p.m. The play will be directed by Thomas Riccio of The University of Texas/Dallas. For ticket information, call 330-263-2241.

Seeds joined the faculty at Wooster in 1984. He specializes in scenic and lighting design. He also focuses on the performance traditions and their contemporary expressions of indigenous peoples, particularly those of Alaskan natives. He received his B.S. from Bowling Green State University (1971). He then earned his M.A. (1975) and his Ph.D. (1990) in theatre from Kent State University. His credits include more than 185 productions of theatre, dance, and opera. He has also been published in Drama Review, Melus, and most recently in the Journal of Comic Art. In addition, he served as contributing author and editor for Reinventing Traditional Alaskan Native Performance by Thomas Riccio. His play, The Day That Cries Forever, was adapted from survivor narratives from the Alaska Native community of Chenega, which was destroyed by tsunamis resulting from an earthquake in 1964.

Wooster’s next Faculty at Large lecture will be a presentation from the Hales Group on Oct. 29. Additional information about the lecture series is available by phone (330-263-2576) or e-mail.