Standing Bear, a Ponca Native American chief, is best known for successfully arguing in U.S. District Court in 1879 that Native Americans are “persons within the meaning of the law” who have the right of habeas corpus. When playwright Christopher Cartmill returned to his hometown of Lincoln, Nebraska, to write a play about Chief Standing Bear, he unknowingly began a complicated adventure. As he followed the story of the Ponca chief who fought so hard to return from a reservation in Oklahoma to his homeland in northern Nebraska, Cartmill stumbled into the politics of identity, contested notions of homeland, and his own past. Chronicling these adventures in a series of dispatches to friends, he documented the transformation of a research trip into a three-year exploration of Nebraska, its Native community, the meaning of home, and the complex relationship we all have with history. These dispatches, originally presented in Cartmill’s celebrated performance and now gathered together in this book, offer snapshots of a New Yorker’s travels into the heartland, insights into a very personal journey, and glimpses into a history that critiques and continues the American story.
"Delightfully intimate yet soaringly ambitious, Christopher Cartmill's lovely and lovingly told memoir of his journey through personal and national history is a fascinating meditation on the infinite meanings of home. This is a terrific nonfiction debut from a terrifically gifted writer." Adam Langer, author of Ellington Boulevard and My Father's Bonus March "It is not as a disinterested witness that Christopher Cartmill embarked on this extraordinary exploration, but as a passionate participant, often literally risking body and soul, with a clear eye, a probing intellect, and a compassionate and fearless heart. The result is a fascinating, and very moving, chronicle of his journey." Eva Rubinstein, actress and internationally acclaimed photographer "The Nebraska Dispatches sensitively chronicles a time when paths crossed---when the past intertwined with the present and remade a future." Renee Sans Souci, Umonhon (Omaha) poet "Cartmill writes with such power and beauty. The Nebraska Dispatches resonated with me personally. Even though our experiences are of course different in the discovery journey that led to our respective projects ... there are many deep and striking resonances." Jocelyn McKinnon, lecturer at The University of Newcastle, Australia, and creator of the performance piece, Listening: Indigenous Stories from the Central Coast Praise for Christopher Cartmill's play Home Land, on which this book is based: "This is a mature, sophisticated play. Like rainwater in the Nebraska Sandhills, the play's haunting truths seep into the cracks where life begins and ends. And it is here where those hard truths are delivered with whispers---not megaphones---which of course make them resonate even louder." Joe Starita, author of I Am a Man
Number Of Pages: 152
Published: 1st November 2010
Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 20.3 x 12.7
Weight (kg): 0.28