‘It’s Good to be Home’: Setting Sun Productions Focuses on Foster Care

Richard Walker

Setting Sun Productions, founded by former Lummi Nation chairman Darrell Hillaire, continues to break ground in building understanding of Native American cultures and histories – and spurring discussion of environmental, political and social issues.

Setting Sun has produced a satire about the use of Native American symbols as sports mascots, a play about promises in the 1855 Treaty of Point Elliott that have been unfulfilled by the U.S., and a documentary about climate change that was shown at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris.

The latest production: a play, “It’s Good to be Home,” about the struggles of Native youth in the foster care system and how one youth was able to finally call a place “home.”

Within seven days, five donors had contributed a total of $550 to a gofundme account for the production. The goal is $3,000; funds will go toward the production of the play, as well as food and lodging for cast and crew.

The play will be staged at 7:30 a.m. April 20 at Silver Reef Hotel Casino, 4876 Haxton Way, Lummi Nation. Tickets are $15 at Silver Reef. Cast members include Eugene Harry, Jonah Ballew, Luke Lane, Barbara Lewis, and Tamera Noland.

It’s Good to be Home is a stage production of a Setting Sun short film, which includes a dream sequence featuring animated Coast Salish figures – one of the first films to do so. In the dream sequence, children are returned home where they are embraced in a traditional blanketing ceremony.

Like other Setting Sun productions, It’s Good to be Home is intended to help audiences see issues – in this case, the impacts of the foster care system on Native children and families – through a Native lens, and spur discussion about those issues.

The Setting Sun stage production Sonny Sixkiller Buys the Washington Redskins, for example, was a lesson in the history of ridiculing Native American symbolism, and audiences were invited to join cast and crew in post-show discussions in the theater.

Many Tribal Governments have taken control of their foster care systems in order to keep families intact. The Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe, on the Kitsap Peninsula west of Seattle, places S’Klallam children “in loving, stable homes” within the S’Klallam community while the parent or parents continue to develop their parenting skills. The parent is allowed “to share whatever benefits the parent has to offer the child,” according to the Port Gamble S’Klallam website, and “The community expects the parents to keep working towards being a good parent.” The site states, “Children belong with the tribe; the tribe is family.”

Two other significant events coming up at Lummi:

The Northwest Indian College Foundation’s eighth annual tl'aneq' (Gathering for a Celebration) Cultural Art Auction and Benefit Dinner begins at 4:30 p.m. April 8 at Silver Reef. Proceeds benefit local students and Lummi’s new Health & Wellness Center. The evening will include an honoring of Fran James (1924-2013), mother of Hereditary Chief Bill (Tslixw) James. The guest speaker: Gary Litefoot Davis, president and CEO of the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development.

Tickets: [email protected], (360) 392-4305 or www.FOUNDATION.NWIC.edu.

The Indigenous Solidarity Climate Action Worship & Forum begins at 10 a.m. April 10 at East Shore Unitarian Church, 12700 SE 232nd St., in the Seattle suburb of Bellevue. It opens with “The Earth is Alive” with Freddy Lane, a Lummi Nation representative at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Paris. An Indigenous Solidarity Forum will include speakers from Lummi Nation, Quinault Nation, Northern Cheyenne Nation, and the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation.

Beth Brownfield, who operates an email news service about Coast Salish events, wrote that participants in the climate action forum will learn “about the spiritual connection that the Coast Salish tribes have to the land and the message that they carried with them to Paris. In the afternoon forum, we'll hear representatives from four different tribes tell how they are being impacted by fossil fuels and climate change. We also hope to learn how we can join with area tribes to curtail the expansion of fossil fuels extraction and transportation in the Pacific Northwest. In many cases, indigenous treaties enforcement could limit the development and transport of coal, oil, and liquid natural gas fuels in our region.

RSVP: [email protected].

Setting Sun Trailers Online:

It’s Good to be Home

What About those Promises

Sonny Sixkiller Buys the Washington Redskins

The Earth is Alive

You need to be logged in in order to post comments
Please use the log in option at the bottom of this page