Marlowe's Shade

Friday, January 14, 2005

A Comanche Mourns the Holocaust


Why would a Comanche Indian write an opera about the Jewish Holocaust? Shouldn’t an American Indian write about his own Trail of Tears? Why this convergence of cultural ethos? Why this crossing of paths?

I hear these two giant, genetic dirges in the same key. Both are the lamentations of unwanted people. But, the reason I chose to write an opera on the Jewish Holocaust has to do with my educational background and personal experience.

David Yeagley sounds like a fascinating individual and I'd like to find out more about him. This whole idea that a tragedy can be so overwhelming that a person can only process it in terms of a similar tragedy is very powerful and potentially unifying to people of goodwill.

Although I’m an Oklahoma Indian, I speak the artistic language of Europe. It so happens that, since I was a young teenager, Jewish people have always valued what I have to say. They have appreciated me and my work. Therefore I have always felt close to Jewish people.

I’ve also studied the Bible, privately and professionally, and had some formal Jewish studies. I am familiar with Jewish family life and worship. In Connecticut, I had Jewish neighbors who loved me as their own. (In fact, twice, they actually saved my life – terms for endearment, indeed.)

I trust the Jews with my tears. I once told a rabbi how I felt about Jewish people. I confessed, “I know if I really wanted to cry my heart out, I could come here (the synagogue) in the sanctuary, and just cry. No one would make me feel embarrassed. No one would shame me. No one would ask any questions. Everyone would understand. The Jews know.”

I've heard of many Native Americans that were sympathetic to the Jews. For some very personal reasons, this makes me very happy.
papijoe 7:41 AM