HDD – Unsettling Ramona

Los Angeles-based dance company Heidi Duckler Dance (HDD) presents a 3-part series of virtual programs amplifying the histories and contemporary experiences of Native Americans in California through art, music, conversation and a deep dive into the story of Ramona. The salons will take place on three consecutive Thursdays: August 13th, August 20th, and August 27th at 5pm PDT.

In 2018, Heidi Duckler Dance began an initiative Ramona: Reimaging, Unsettling and Reckoning. Based on the story of Romana inspired by what some consider the quintessential California story of the same name, written in 1884 by Helen Hunt Jackson. The first performance in 2018 was at San Gabriel Mission Playhouse. The second performance in December 2020 will be at the Southwest Museum Los Angeles.

In preparation for the December performance, HDD is presenting our Unsettling Ramona Salon Series by working collaboratively with Native perspectives to “unsettle” a story that was both important in creating visibility for the issue of Native rights in America and also problematic in that it romanticized California’s history and ultimately failed to create political change. Recognizing our own positionality and complicity working and performing on land we are guests in, our company is honored to be joined by highly respected indigenous artists, activists, scholars, and thought leaders from Southern California. Our collaborators will share their work, lived experiences, and expertise on Native American history while examining the story of Ramona. Building towards a holistic understanding of these histories and perspectives will inform HDD’s new “Unsettling Ramona” performance.

Heidi Duckler Dance kicks off this salon series with “Unsettling Story” featuring Indigenous multimedia documentarian Pamela J. Peters who was born and raised on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona and scholar Dr. Yve Chavez who was born and raised in Los Angeles, California as a member of the Tongva tribe. Dr. Chavez will discuss the history of California’s missions and their role in shaping public perception of Spanish colonial legacies and Indigenous experiences in Southern California from the late nineteenth century through today. Pamela will explore how Indian representation and removal policies are translated in Hollywood filmmaking and how visual sovereignty through a Native lens can promote the perseverance of Native American/American Indian community populations despite decades of colonial assimilationist policies.

The Actors' Gang

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