Prof: Mary Nordick
English - 110.07
Thursday, March 7th
What have you learned about life on the reservation from Highway’s play? Has the play changed any of your opinions or perceptions?
The play The Rez Sisters was written by Tomson Highway, a Cree from the Brochet reserve in north-western Manitoba, at the end of the twentieth century. Through a group of seven native women, Tomson Highway’s The Rez Sisters reveals the lives of aboriginal people and their community on an Indian Reservation. The play shows the harsh realities of Indian reservations of joblessness, prejudice and alcoholism. The old Aboriginal rituals have slowly been forgotten and replaced by the clichés of consumerism. While the people of the community don’t lack the attitude of get–up-and-go, they really have no place to go to.
The inhabitants of the Wasy Rez are part of a community that is falling apart. Most of the people are stuck on the welfare, and just getting by on the dirt roads of the Rez. Moreover, they don’t have any control over their lives. Throughout the play, the main characters state, “Everyone here’s crazy” (Highway, 518). Since there is no work on the Rez, it makes most of the people on welfare go crazy. Some of the men have to go hundred miles to find work while the young boys have to go all the way to Toronto because it is “the only place educated Indian boys can find decent jobs these days” (Highway, 518). There is constant drinking, fighting and adultery. There is “nothing to do but drink and screw each other’s wives and husbands…” (Highway, 518). Infidelity is so common on the Rez that some of the families have “…fourteen of them (children)…Imagine…and all from one father” (Highway, 522). *
* After reading The Rez Sisters, I was a little surprised by the life on a reserve. I was raised in Toronto, where I did not personally know any Native Americans and everything I knew about them was from the books. In the...