White Snake Projects Awarded Civic Practice Grant from Opera America

Dear Friends of White Snake Projects:

“A healing moment occurs for the person who has told you their story, but also for you as the one who has accepted the story,” said Murray Sinclair, Anishinaabe leader.

We’re honored to share the news that White Snake Projects and its indigenous partners, including the United American Indians of New England, received a Civic Practice Grant from Opera America to research and identify indigenous singers, musicians, instrumentalists, directors, designers, artists, composers, and writers to create a Directory of Indigenous Performing Artists. This Directory will serve as a reference for the opera industry in casting, hiring and commissioning indigenous creators and artists. We’ll also present a community performance series featuring artists selected from the Directory and begin the development of a new indigenous opera using its resources.

Indigenous music and stories have been long overlooked or exoticized in “mainstream” opera/music theater because of the white gaze. Our partners have expressed a need to tell contemporary stories about their people, stories that show them living, working, creating and thriving in society today; stories that are not based on myths corrupted or created by the white perspective; stories that affirm their right to participate fully in American society. I’ve been told by indigenous friends, “Do you know that many Americans think we’re extinct?”  The Directory will be an important tool to disrupt existing narratives about indigenous communities.  It will be more than a musicological asset. We hope it’ll be a step in decolonizing opera and returning control of  indigenous stories to our Native American neighbors.

Be safe, be well, be disruptive,

Cerise and all of us at White Snake Projects