Arena Stage on YouTube: Sovereignty
Arts & Entertainment

Mary Kathryn Nagle debuts 'Sovereignty' play at theater in nation's capital

A new play by Mary Kathryn Nagle, an attorney and citizen of the Cherokee Nation, debuted in Washington, D.C., on January 12.

The story behind "Sovereignty" is intensely personal for Nagle. It's based on the assassinations of two of her Cherokee ancestors, during a time of upheaval and uncertainty for the tribe.

“It’s my family onstage,” Nagle tells The New York Times. John Ridge and his father, Major Ridge, were killed on the same day in June 1839 by fellow Cherokees after they signed a treaty that led to the forced removal of the tribe on the Trail of Tears.

"Sovereignty" is running at the Arena Stage through February 18. Richard Sneed, the chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, will participate in a discussion about sovereignty and other issues during a post-play panel on February 6, The Cherokee Phoenix reported.

The play is part of the Women’s Voices Theater Festival. The cast includes Kyla Garcia as young Cherokee attorney Sarah Polson, Kalani Queypo as John Ridge and Andrew Roa as Major Ridge / Roger Ridge. Andrew Jackson is portrayed by Joseph Carlson.

Read More on the Story:
Fighting for Native Americans, in Court and Onstage (The New York Times January 17, 2018)
EBCI chief to participate in post-play panel in Washington (The Cherokee Phoenix January 11, 2018)
Sovereignty actors on the Cherokee Nation story at Arena Stage (DC Theater Scene January 10, 2018)