Digitized collection to be released

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A new digital collection of American Indian and First Nation plays is scheduled for release before the end of the year. “North American Indian Drama,” compiled by Alexander Street Press, will be available on the Web through academic institutions or other libraries that subscribe to the service.

The collection brings together more than 200 plays by indigenous writers, such as R. Lynn Riggs, the first American Indian playwright to have his material produced, to contemporary works. Represented are plays by companies such as Spiderwoman Theater, which is the longest continually running Native women’s theater group in North America; the Native American Theater Ensemble; Red Eagle Soaring; and Native Earth, among others.

Researchers will be able to query the database with a variety of questions, such as: “Show me all plays written by Cherokee authors set in Oklahoma during the 19th century,” or “What contemporary plays have Coyote as a character?”

Among the playwrights targeted for inclusion are Hanay Geiogamah, Diane Glancy, Bruce King, William S. Yellow Robe, Yvette Nolan, Drew Hayden Taylor, Monique Mojica, Marie Humber Clements, Tomson Highway, Terry Gomez, Daniel David Moses, Laura Shamas, E. Donald Two-Rivers, Elvira and Hortensia Colorado, Jason Begay, Joseph A. Dandurand, LeAnne Howe and Victoria Nalani Kneubuhl.

In addition to their better-known works, the collection will provide access to previously overlooked or inaccessible plays, and offers a significant amount of material that has not been published before.

The company also offers the 41,500-page North American Indian Biographical Database, which presents Native peoples’ experiences from their own point of view, according to a statement by the publisher. The collection includes biographies from more than 100 Indian publications, such as “The Arrow,” “Cherokee Phoenix” and “The Chickasaw Intelligencer”; 2,000 oral histories presented in audio and transcript form; at least 20,000 photographs; and numerous autobiographies.

Nearly 500 North American groups are represented, including the Inuit of the Arctic; the sub-Arctic Cree; the Pacific Coastal Salish; the Ojibwa, Cheyenne, and Sioux of the Plains; the Luiseno, Pomo and Miwok; and the Apache, Navajo, Hopi, Creek, Cherokee, Pequot, Iroquois, Seneca, Metis, Nez Perce and more. Twenty prominent leaders have been selected for special emphasis, with biographies of Pocahontas, Tecumseh, Sitting Bull, Red Jacket, Chief Joseph and Plenty Coups.

For more information, visit www.alexanderstreet.com.