Thanks to Teresa Andrews of the Enderby RiverTalk for a revealing profile of Splats'in elder Anne Cook, who will be playing Coyote in Tuwitames running August 6-10, 2014. We thank the RiverTalk for their enthusiastic ongoing support of our projects. The current issue and previous issue of RiverTalk are available as Adobe Reader files on their website www.enderbyrivertalk.com
Anne Cook Brings Coyote’s Light to Splats’in Play
by Teresa Andrews - Enderby RiverTalk – August 1, 2014
The amazing power of light can be seen in Runaway Moon’s play, Tuwitames.
In Tuwitames, living in the light is the healing and growth Coyote wants for people.
There is no one better suited for the important role of Coyote than Splats’in elder Anne Cook.
A language authority once told Spats’in they should “just turn out the
light” on the Sewapmectsin language -- too few fluent speakers -- there was no way to save the language.
As one of the remaining fluent speakers, Anne Cook did not turn out the light. She did just the opposite.
Soon, Anne was part of a Spats’in-based language and culture program. The program restored a traditional method of teaching - interaction between grandmothers and children. Anne knew.
“My grandmother said ‘sit down. You have to learn Sewapmectsin language. I do not want you to go out and make a fool of yourself because you do not know the language.’ So, every night for two hours I learned Sewapmectsin.”
The play, Tuwitames, looks at many of Splats’in’s values, including language.
“It is like … a challenge for many players. They are learning Sewapmectsin for the first time so they can speak their lines.”
Anne brings Coyote (Sek’lap) to the stage.
“Coyote (Sek’lap) creates day. He brings in the light.”
Anne explained that, in the play, Coyote stumbles into Grizzly because Coyote can’t see anything. Grizzly represents night. He just wants darkness all the time.
“He wants to sleep his life away. Coyote stubs his toe in Grizzly’s darkness and Coyote smells something bad. That is because Grizzly is so lazy he just poops where ever.”
She noted that Coyote is a medicine man that speaks to people where they are in their lives right now.
Anne acknowledged that Tuwitames “is very emotional for the players.”
“I lived in the darkness. Now, I have lived in the light for 30 years. You can’t run away from yourself. I had to change so I could see how I was living.”
If you go for no other reason, go to see Tuwitames to watch Anne Cook as Coyote. In the words of one of the play’s writers,
“You haven’t seen Coyote until you’ve seen Anne Cook as Coyote.”
The play runs from August 6th to 10th at Splats’in Tsn7ak-saltn (Childcare and Language Centre) on Canyon Road. Show time is at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for those 13 -18 years and five dollars for children 12 and under. Ticket reservations are made by calling 778-443-4000.