Regeneration of Performance Arts: Indigenous Puppetry

Fall Open
Class Standing
Gary Peterson
Yvonne Peterson

In this program students will examine issues of orality and literacy, writing, storytelling, performance, language, literature, culture, identity, Indigenous lived experience, and the arts. Our approach will blend Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Boal’s Theater of the Oppressed, Rhod’s Theatre for Community, Conflict & Dialogue, rhetorical sovereignty, and the origin and historical stories of Indigenous peoples. Using the genres of puppetry, mask making, reader’s theater, and narrative and performance arts, students will tell and perform stories to incorporate the history, culture, laws, policies, and lived experiences of Indigenous peoples, and work to bring forth a regeneration of Indigenous performing arts to envision a sustainable future.

Essential questions for the year include: How does knowing the context, histories, and traditions of art forms help us create works of art and design? Why do Indigenous artists break from established traditions and how do they reclaim traditional art elements? How do contemporary artists determine what resources and criteria are needed to formulate artistic investigations? How do Indigenous youth model for others traditional art techniques?

Comparing and contrasting world Indigenous cultures, we will focus our research on colonial history--specifically, why narratives, puppetry, and other heritage and cultural traditions were eliminated, why they are making a comeback, and how artists are revitalizing performance and cultural arts today. Students interested in social work and human services and in teaching in the K-12 education system will benefit from working with the arts as an introduction to the healing arts, as they are central to learning standards and critical pedagogy. Together we will learn how the arts can be integrated into Indigenous science, cosmology, earth and sky sciences, natural history, cultural education, and other areas. Students interested in writing, communication, leadership, community building, action research, heritage and cultural programs, sustainability studies, and other areas will cultivate the knowledge, skills, and abilities for integrating the arts into professional practices and applications.

Over the year, we will explore the role of the narrative and the radical imagination, and the power of stories to cultivate agency, leadership, voice, and shape an understanding of the past, present, and future. Using the “River of Culture” history template, students will work together to complete research and writing as they participate in community and indigenous arts, puppetry, and performance projects. Students will apply their understanding to local and global issues related to decolonization, environmental justice, cultural and place-based learning, emergent leadership, social work, education, and indigenous science, story, and sustainability, as they work with community, professional, and tribal leaders to strategize and plan for transformative change.

This program incorporates Greener Foundations. Greener Foundations is Evergreen’s in-person 2-quarter introductory student success course, which provides all first-year students with the skills and knowledge they need to thrive at Evergreen. First-year students who register for 14 credits in this program will be placed into Greener Foundations for an additional 2 credits, totaling 16 credits. Once first-year students have been placed into Greener Foundations, they will receive an email confirming their registration status.


Course Reference Numbers
So - Sr (16): 20134
Fr (14): 20137
Course Reference Numbers
So - Sr (16): 30134
Fr (16): 30135
(1 - 16): 30136

Course Reference Numbers

So - Sr (16): 10197
Fr - Sr (1 - 16): 10201
Fr (14): 10233

Academic Details

Tribal Education, Indian Child Welfare/Social Work, K-12 Public Education, Indigenous Theater


$100 per quarter for art supplies, entrance fees to museums and the Social Justice conference, and a printed anthology of student work.

Tribal Schools and community organizations.


Hybrid (F)
Hybrid (W)
Hybrid (S)

See definition of Hybrid, Remote, and In-Person instruction

Schedule Details
SEM 2 E2105 - Workshop


Date Revision
2022-04-25 This program is now part of Greener Foundations