BY: Nikkole Salter
THE STORY: 2014, Cumberland County, NJ. When a Nanticoke
Lenni-Lenape teen is caught for vandalizing her school's
scoreboard, her mother cuts a deal to help her atone with the
school. But when their tribe's traditions clash with the champ-
ionship bound high school football team's, the two worlds are
left wondering how - or if - they can co-exist.
(NJPAC Stage Exchange Commission)
2 Women, 2 Men
Graphic by Valerie Sanchez
INDIAN HEAD was commissioned by NJPAC and received its World priemere at Luna Stage, Cheryl Katz, Artistic Director, February 2 - March 5, 2017 directed by Kareem Fahmy. Check out the Virtual Context Room curated
by Luna Stage's Kaitlin Stillwell for this production.
Stage Manager: Daniel Viola Production Designer: Liz Cesario
ASMs: Courtney Labossiere and Angie Turro Patrick Littlewolf Brooks, Urie and Cory Ridgeway
Wardrobe Supervisor: Aziza Callahan
LINKS TO PRESS & REVIEWS from the LUNA STAGE Production
By: Simon Saltzman
“...Salter has filled her play with passionate voices. Yet it is the intentions as well as the integrity of her four bristling characters that keep us involved in the story...I suspect that the playwright intentionally and purposefully left room for discussion about what constitutes the difference between sacred and profane.”
By: Thom Molyneaux 03/05/2017
“Indian Head is an insightful, effective, often wonderfully theatrical production that explores how the descendants of our local Lenape tribe, navigate a world that doesn’t know or understand who they are...Indian Head is a truly thought-provoking play. It even has me thinking of how I use the word ”Indian” in this review. After all the characters aren’t from India or descendants of people from India. They’re from Cumberland County New Jersey....Clearly, Salter has done extensive research and conducted in-depth interviews with local tribal leaders, but it’s the playwright’s job to turn that research into an engaging human story, a story about flesh and blood people, and Ms. Salter is very good at her job.”
“Nikkole Salter’s “Indian Head” is a brand new play having its World Premiere at Luna Stage, in West Orange, New Jersey, and it is timely, disturbingly thought provoking, and shows that, while we feel we’ve come far, we still have a very long way to go...Ultimately, I left with some answers and a lot more questions, which were sparked by the play itself. For me, this transcends the experience of entertainment...”
By: Ruth Ross 02/19/2017
“Actually more interesting than the culture clash that is the main theme are several subconflicts: mother vs. daughter, youthful protest vs. older caution, the team’s need for an inspiring mascot vs. an understanding of how hurtful such a choice can be to another... Indian Head makes some very important observations about the mindless misuse of cultural symbols and its effect on those from whom they are appropriated...Thank you to Luna and Nikkole Salter for bringing this injustice to our dramatic attention."
By: Patricia Rogers 03/02/2017
"I was fully invested in their respective journeys throughout the play. Even if you did not agree with the character at times...Like past Nikkole Salter plays like Lines in the Dust, we see a portrait of the complexities of race relations in 2017... Indian Head is relevant, compassionate, and had its funny moments."
By: NICOLAS FERNANDES 02/11/2017
“I was inspired to write this play by the dichotomy between the evidence of Native American culture all around New Jersey and the relative lack of presence of their contemporary voice,” Salter told TAPinto Bloomfield.”
By: Dino Flammia 02/07/2017
“Here [in NJ] are vestiges of [Native] people all around us, but you don’t see them,” Salter told New Jersey 101.5. “So I proposed that I would write a story that would bring the Native American community in New Jersey to the forefront of our stages.”
By: Daniel Jackovino 02/05/2017
“While developing the play, Salter, who is also an actress, contacted Native Americans she knew from working in the theater and asked them for advice. One colleague put her in touch with the tribal chairman and principal chief of the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribe."
By: Maddie Orton 02/03/2017
“So when you take an issue like cultural appropriation, ‘What are we really talking about?’ becomes my initial question,” explained Salter. “Are we just talking about the adoption or the misappropriation of culture by people who don’t know anything about it? Yes. But what is that ultimately about? That’s about respect.”
By: Natalie Pompilio 01/29/2017
"This is about the mascot issue, but it's really about tradition and respect and how to best deal with being disrespected," she said. "The play asks how much can you take? What's it like being part of a culture that's inherited the burden of being disrespected? Whose traditions get to live and at whose expense?"
By: William Westhoven 01/22/2017
"Another story ripped from New Jersey headlines from the author of 'Lines in the Dust,' 'Indian Head' asks us to take a hard, honest look at how we appropriate culture and the ways in which we honor and exploit tradition," Luna Stage Director Cheryl Katz wrote in a statement announcing the premiere."
"Indian Head marks Nikkole Salter's third world premiere at Luna Stage, and her second commission. Previous premieres include Carnaval (2012) and Lines In The Dust (2014)."
By: William Westhoven 05/20/2016
"The play takes place in Parsippany and I'm kind of playing on (the Redskins-Redhawks story), but it's not about what happened there," Salter said. "It's a drama about the clash of tradition, about what happens when you have different people who have great pride in something, and those traditions are contradictory in a lot of ways. You disparage mine, and we're both going to feel disparaged, but whose tradition is going to stay?"
Go to the WMNF Two Worlds Indigenous Radio site here