Here's a different take on the controversy surrounding the Washington, DC NFL football team: What would happen if Sonny Sixkiller, Cherokee, one of the greatest quarterbacks to play at the University of Washington, bought the team? And then kept the offensive name and instead changed the players' names? That's the premise behind a new play, “Sonny Sixkiller Buys the Redskins,” by Darrell Hillaire, Lummi.
In the play, Sixkiller, the former NFL quarterback who lives in Seattle, buys the Washington NFL team from current owner Dan Snyder, who insists that the team keep its name. “So, the Indians change the names of the players,” Hillaire said. “It was an idea that emerged at the beginning of the year, and I thought, ‘I need to bring this to life.’ There’s a lot of humor here — it’s respectful, but it shows the irony of everything and sheds a light on this attitude of racism.”
Elaine Miles, Cayuse/Nez Perce, and Vaughn Eaglebear, Lakota, will perform on stage in the political satire. The cast read through the script for the first time on June 16.
Hillaire started writing the script in March. The play is about 90 minutes. The play is Hillaire’s fourth foray into performance art.
He produced an audio version of Beginnings: A Meditation on Coast Salish Lifeways, the 2003 book by the Rev. Patrick J. Twohy; students from the Lummi Youth Academy did the narration, with personal accounts shared by elders and song provided by the Crab Bay Singers.
He produced a short film, “It’s Good to be Home,” about a teen in foster care who returns to the Lummi reservation and has a dream featuring animation drawn in Coast Salish art style.
And he produced the play, “What About Those Promises,” about unfulfilled commitments in the Point Elliott Treaty of 1855. The play has been performed to sold-out audiences in Bellingham, at Seattle University, and at Lummi’s Silver Reef Casino.