A Live Reading of Sovereignty
Sovereignty, written by playwright Mary Kathryn Nagle, examines the intersections of personal and political truths and historic and contemporary struggles through two parallel timelines. In present-day Oklahoma, a young Cherokee lawyer, Sarah Ridge Polson, and her colleague Jim Ross, defend the inherent jurisdiction of the Cherokee Nation in the United States Supreme Court when a non-Indian defendant challenges the Nation’s authority to prosecute non-Indian perpetrators of domestic violence.
Polson and Ross are juxtaposed with scenes from 1835, when the Cherokee Nation was eight hundred miles to the east in the southern Appalachians, and when Polson’s and Ross’s ancestors, historic Cherokee rivals, were bitterly divided over the Treaty of New Echota, which led to the Cherokee Nation’s removal to Oklahoma on the Trail of Tears.
The reading, which reunites director Molly Smith with members of the original cast, will provide a unique opportunity for a live theater experience from home. Following the online reading, Mary Kathryn Nagle, an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation and a direct descendant of nineteenth-century Cherokee leaders John Ridge and Major Ridge, will be joined in conversation with Sarah Deer, professor of women’s, gender, and sexuality studies at the University of Kansas and a citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation of Oklahoma.
The event is open to the public. Registration for this online event is $25. Proceeds will support opportunities for Native American students at the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University.
A Live Reading of Sovereignty is presented in partnership with Georgia Humanities, the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University, and the Decatur Book Festival.