DeLanna Studi recounts her trek along the Trail of Tears in powerful one-woman show
Cherokee actor, writer, and activist DeLanna Studi recounts her incredible 900-mile trek along the Trail of Tears, tracing the path of her ancestors, in her powerful one-woman show “And So We Walked.”
In an exclusive event for the Moss Arts, Studi performs excerpts from the play and engages in a conversation with Mae Hey, assistant professor of American Indian Studies at Virginia Tech, on Monday, Oct, 12, at 7:30 p.m.
The performance is presented in celebration of Indigenous Peoples’ Day, in partnership with Virginia Tech’s American Indian and Indigenous Community Center.
Studi dreamed of following the footsteps her ancestors were forced to travel along the Trail of Tears, and in 2015 she embarked on a six-week journey, taking the route her great-great-grandparents took in the 1830s when they were forced to relocate from their homelands with more than 17,000 Cherokee people. A powerful one-woman show honoring Indigenous people everywhere, “And So We Walked” recounts her incredible journey to truly understand her own identity and the conflicts of her nation. Portraying multiple characters and incorporating humor and emotional touchpoints, Studi transcends the digital platform, blazing a path squarely into the heart of the viewer.
“It isn’t just my story about my journey,” said Studi. “It is a Cherokee story, one that transcends my own personal identity and experiences. It belongs to the Cherokee people, past and present; to the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma and Eastern Band of Cherokee in North Carolina; and to the dozens of people across the country who helped me complete this project.”
The play contains adult themes and is appropriate for adults and students in eighth grade and above.
Ticketholders have access to the performance as it happens, and for seven days following the event.
Studi has originated roles in more than 18 world premieres, including 14 native productions, and she has received numerous awards for her performances in the Hallmark/ABC mini-series “Dreamkeeper” and Chris Eyre’s “Edge of America.” She is co-artistic director of America’s only equity Native American theatre company, Native Voices at the Autry, and serves as chair of SAG-AFTRA’s National Native Committee.
Following the performance, Studi joins a conversation moderated by Mae Hey, assistant professor of American Indian Studies at Virginia Tech. Hey also serves as an InclusiveVT faculty fellow for the Office for Inclusion and Diversity, faculty fellow for the Leadership and Social Change Residential College, and faculty fellow for the Center for Food Systems and Community Transformation. She is a Sequoyah fellow and serves on the Curriculum Committee for the American Indian Science and Engineering Society. Hey is an active member of the Native American Food Sovereignty Alliance’s Indigenous culinary mentorship program.
Studi will meet virtually with Native students at Virginia Tech and make two virtual class visits, where she will discuss the development of “And So We Walked,” as well as Native narratives, communication, performance, and intergenerational traditions, with undergraduates and graduate students.
Tickets are $10 for general public and free for Virginia Tech students. Tickets can be purchased online; at the Moss Arts Center's box office, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday; or by calling 540-231-5300 during box office hours.
Exclusive to the Moss Arts Center and designed specifically to be presented online, the “HomeStage” series is a curated collection of virtual performances offering opportunities to engage directly with artists. Guaranteed a front row seat, attendees get up close and personal with “HomeStage” series artists during these distinct performances and conversations, which include moderated discussions.
All “HomeStage” series events are free for Virginia Tech students.