NAWPA: Mark of the Feather Synopsis

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Mark of the Feather
by JudyLee Olivia

Mary: A mixed blood Indian woman. Thirty-eight years old. Dark hair. Light tan skin.
Elizabeth: Mary’s cousin. Mixed blood Indian woman. Twenty-two years old. Light hair and skin.
Bird RunningDeer: Ageless, handsome Lakota Sioux man with long black hair.
Outside at dusk in a clearing of blackjack trees, where the Pottawatamie Pow Wow in Shawnee, Oklahoma took place a few hours earlier. The dirt is red. In the center of the bare stage is what is left of the Pow Wow circle: large rocks that marked the circle and a large tree stump where the group sat. The blackjack trees should be realized by shadows and projections, but should in no way appear realistic, but rather a suggestion of height and color and shape. It is late June, 1996. The drums of the Pow Wow are heard from time to time though it has long since ended and no one is in sight, save for the two women.
At the end of the Pow Wow, Mary has found a feather and is mesmerized by it, mainly because she has come to the Pow Wow to re-visit her Indian roots. Elizabeth has all but disavowed her heritage. They discuss their “Indian-ness” and Elizabeth leaves, irritated because it is turning dark and Mary refuses to leave. Bird RunningDeer appears out of nowhere. Using a cigarette as a makeshift campfire the two have a curious discussion about birds and politics and how people come to understand themselves. Elizabeth comes back looking for Mary and Bird insists that he and Mary run away, playing a trick on Elizabeth. Mary is now afraid for some unkown reason and afraid to trust Bird, but wanting to. He says: “Run Mary, this way, with me. You found my feather.” She does so and the world turns back and we are taken back hundreds of years, another culture, another Elizabeth and Mary.

Synopsis written by the author.