by Anita Mae Draper
On June 18, I posted about my excitement at the chance to attend the Theatre on the Hoof Wild West Show, The Medicine Line. I went without any expectations other than a camera full of photos, and overall, I enjoyed what I saw.
Since the set needed a teepee, we had a chance to see an authentic one put up. In the following photo, the stage is the area immediately in front of the benches. It includes the teepee on the right, to the fire pit on the left. I have to admit that the allowing of vehicles, crew, and audience members in the background detracted from the authenticity, but it didn't spoil my enthusiasm.
|Teepee Set Up Demonstration
And although the addition of headset microphones and stage left and right speakers didn't fit with the 1877 setting, I will be the first to stand in line and say I appreciated being able to clearly hear everything that was said. The sound on my videos aren't as clear, however, because my camera mic couldn't escape the prairie wind.
|Lakota Sioux recreators with electronic headset microphones
The Red River Cart demonstration was a welcome suprise since I've included one in a couple of my stories. I knew the carts were made of wood and wet rawhide strips called shaganappi, and without nails or metal fasteners. What I didn't know, though, was that the Red River Cart could be dissassembled within minutes, even with the help of children.
|Red River Cart Demonstration
|Red River Cart turned into a Raft
July 1st is Canada Day, the day Canadians celebrate the creation of the 1867 British North America Act which stated that Canada would become a dominion (a territory) independent of England. It wasn't known as Canada Day back then, but rather Dominion Day. The Medicine Line takes place beginning in 1877when Canada was 10 yrs old and the current prairie provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba were only territories of the Dominion of Canada.
South of the border in that same year, the United States of America was 101 yrs old and Montana, Wyoming, and the Dakotas, were still territories as well. http://www.50states.com/statehood.htm
In 1876, Lt. Colonel George Custer and the Seventh Cavalry were sent out to force Sioux and Cheyenne Indians back to their reservations. Led by Sitting Bull, the Indians were victorious in what is known as, 'Custer's Last Stand'. But having won the Battle of the Little Bighorn, the Indians were now enemies of the U.S. government and therefore on the run.
And so begins The Medicine Line show. It's a year later and Sitting Bull has taken his band of 5,000 Lakota Sioux to their traditional winter hunting grounds in the Wakamow Valley of Moose Jaw, Canada. Except this time, Sitting Bull has declared his intention of not going back to the U.S.
Enter Major Walsh in charge of the NorthWest Mounted Police at Fort Walsh. He welcomes Sitting Bull and lays down the law - the visitors can stay as long as they obey the laws.
The show continues through the few years until finally, Sitting Bull returns to the U.S. It wasn't by choice, but the extra 5,000 Sioux he had brought to Canada helped deplete the buffalo reserves across the prairies until it wasn't only his people that were starving, but the Canadian Indians as well. Even so, a small band of 80-100 Lakota Sioux remained in Canada near the Wakamow Valley of Moose Jaw and other places in Southern Saskatchewan.
As I mentioned earlier, this production was fun and informal. It attempted to present history in a live format for entertainment as well as education. I'd like to send a big thank you to Ken Mitchell and his crew for taking on this project with limited funding and for having the vision to turn it into something meaningful. If you'd like more information on The Medicine Line, cowboy poetry, and future shows, please visit www.burningsun.ca.
Do you want to see an outtake from the show? As everyone knows, live shows have their share of problems and this one was a horse who didn't feel like going where he was supposed to go.
Do you watch the outtakes of movies and TV shows? Do you think showing them detracts from the seriousness of the show?
Anita Mae Draper is retired from the Canadian Armed Forces and lives on the prairie of southeast Saskatchewan, Canada with her hubby of 30 plus years and 2 of their 4 kids. She writes stories set on the prairies of Saskatchewan, North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming. Anita Mae has semi-finaled in the Historical Romance category of the ACFW's 2011 Genesis contest and finaled in the Inspirational category of the 2011 Daphne du Maurier, the 2011 Fool for Love, the 2011 Duel on the Delta and 2009 Linda Howard Award of Excellence contests. Anita Mae is represented by Mary Keeley of Books and Such Literary Agency. You can find Anita at http://www.anitamaedraper.com/