Special Program: Newseum Presents a Staged Reading of "Waaxe's Law"
Guest: Mary Kathryn Nagle
The Newseum hosted a special performance of "Waaxe's Law," a dramatic retelling of Standing Bear v. Crook, the first federal court decision to declare Native Americans to be "persons" under the law.
In 1879, a Ponca Indian chief named Standing Bear stood up in federal court and demanded that he be afforded the same rights as whites under the law.
Based on actual historical events, "Waaxe's Law" tells the story of the forced removal of the Ponca Tribe to present-day Oklahoma and Chief Standing Bear's subsequent journey for justice.
"Waaxe's Law" — "white man's law" — was written by Cherokee playwright and attorney Mary Kathryn Nagle. The play, featuring a cast of 13 performers, also celebrates freedom of the press through the story of a journalist who covered the events.
"We are honored to present 'Waaxe's Law' at the Newseum," Nagle said. "Chief Standing Bear did for Native Americans what Martin Luther King Jr. did for African Americans, and being invited to present this story at the Newseum is a significant step toward ensuring that all Americans will come to appreciate Standing Bear's legacy."