06-21-2018  8:16 pm      •     
The Skanner Report
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NEWS BRIEFS

AG Rosenblum Seeks Info from Oregonians

Oregon Attorney General seeks information on children separated from families at border ...

Community Forum: How Does Law Enforcement Interact With Vulnerable Populations?

Forum will focus on public safety and examine mental health and addiction issues ...

King County Council Recognizes Juneteenth

The Metropolitan King County Council recognizes a true 'freedom day' in the United States ...

Unite Oregon Hosts ‘Mourn Pray Love, and Take Action’ June 20

Community is invited to gather at Terry Schrunk Plaza at 6 p.m. on World Refugee Day ...

MRG Foundation Announces Spring 2018 Grantees

Recipients include Oregon DACA Coalition, Kúkátónón Children’s African Dance Troupe, Komemma Cultural Protection Association ...

Fire forces evacuation of some residents in Jefferson County

CULVER, Ore. (AP) — Authorities in Jefferson County have told residents in the Three Rivers community to leave immediately as winds whipped a fire burning in central Oregon.Sheriff Jim Adkins issued an evacuation order Thursday night for the private development near Lake Billy Chinook. The...

Washington, other states plan to sue over family separations

SEATAC, Wash. (AP) — Washington, California and at least nine other states are planning to sue the Trump administration over its separation of immigrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border, saying the president's executive order halting the practice is riddled with caveats and fails to...

Infant found at Seattle encampment in protective custody

SEATTLE (AP) — A 5-month-old infant found at a Seattle homeless encampment is in protective custody as police investigate child neglect.Seattle Police said Thursday on its blog that the child was removed in late May from an unsanctioned homeless encampment where people were reportedly using...

Washington, other states plan to sue over family separations

SEATAC, Wash. (AP) — Washington, California and at least nine other states are planning to sue the Trump administration over its separation of immigrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border, saying the president's executive order halting the practice is riddled with caveats and fails to...

OPINION

How Washington’s 'School Achievement Index' Became School Spending Index

New assessment categorizes schools not by quality of education, but level of funding officials believe they should receive ...

Black Mamas Are Dying. We Can Stop It.

Congresswoman Robin Kelly plans to improve access to culturally-competent care with the MOMMA Act ...

Hey, Elected Officials: No More Chicken Dinners...We Need Policy

Jeffrey Boney says many elected officials who visit the Black community only during the election season get a pass for doing nothing ...

Juneteenth: Freedom's Promise Still Denied

Juneteenth is a celebration of the de facto end of slavery, but the proliferation of incarceration keeps liberation unfulfilled ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Intel CEO out after consensual relationship with employee

NEW YORK (AP) — Intel CEO Brian Krzanich resigned after the company learned of what it called a past, consensual relationship with an employee.Intel said Thursday that the relationship was in violation of the company's non-fraternization policy, which applies to all managers. Spokesman...

3 men face hate crimes charges in Minnesota mosque bombing

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A grand jury added federal civil rights and hate crimes violations to the charges three Illinois men face in the bombing of a mosque in suburban Minneapolis, prosecutors announced Thursday.The new five-count indictment names Michael Hari, 47, Michael McWhorter, 29, and Joe...

Governor orders probe of abuse claims by immigrant children

WASHINGTON (AP) — Virginia's governor ordered state officials Thursday to investigate abuse claims by children at an immigration detention facility who said they were beaten while handcuffed and locked up for long periods in solitary confinement, left nude and shivering in concrete...

ENTERTAINMENT

Koko the gorilla used smarts, empathy to help change views

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Koko the gorilla, whose remarkable sign-language ability and motherly attachment to pet cats helped change the world's views about the intelligence of animals and their capacity for empathy, has died at 46.Koko was taught sign language from an early age as a scientific...

Directors Guild says industry is still mostly white and male

NEW YORK (AP) — A new study by the Directors Guild of America finds that despite high-profile releases like "Get Out" and "Wonder Woman," film directors remained overwhelmingly white and male among the movies released last year.The DGA examined all 651 feature films released theatrically in...

Demi Lovato sings about addiction struggles on 'Sober'

NEW YORK (AP) — Demi Lovato celebrated six years of sobriety in March, but her new song indicates she may no longer be sober.The pop star released "Sober " on YouTube on Thursday, singing lyrics like: "Momma, I'm so sorry I'm not sober anymore/And daddy please forgive me for the drinks...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

No. 1 Sun: Phoenix takes Ayton; Trae Young, Doncic swapped

NEW YORK (AP) — The Phoenix Suns stayed close to home for their first No. 1 pick. The Dallas Mavericks...

Charles Krauthammer, prominent conservative voice, has died

NEW YORK (AP) — Charles Krauthammer, the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and pundit who helped shape and...

ABC orders 'Roseanne' spinoff for fall minus Roseanne Barr

LOS ANGELES (AP) — ABC, which canceled its "Roseanne" revival over its star's racist tweet, said Thursday...

Merkel pledges 0 million loan for troubled Jordan

AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday promised a 0 million loan to troubled...

Eurozone gets deal to pave way for end to Greece's bailout

LUXEMBOURG (AP) — Eurozone nations agreed on the final elements of a plan to get Greece out of its...

Trump jabbed first, and now world hits back in trade fight

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States attacked first, imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum from around the...

David Casteal
By Arashi Young | The Skanner News

In May of 1804, 33 men set out from Illinois to explore and map the western United States under the command of Captain Meriwether Lewis and Second Lieutenant William Clark.

For nearly two years the Lewis and Clark expedition traveled westward to the Pacific Ocean in search of a practical route across the continent. The troop surveyed the land, crossed perilous territories and met and traded with Native American tribes.

Among this Corps of Discovery was a man who was highly skilled at scouting, hunting and field medicine. He rescued Clark from a flash flood of the Missouri River and saved Lewis from a grizzly bear attack. He also played a key diplomatic role with the Native Americans due to his dark skin color. This man was Clark’s slave, York.

York is the focus of a one-man play coming to Jefferson High School on March 12 and 13. The ReBuilding Center and the Native American Youth and Family Center have partnered to present the piece.

Playwright Bryan Harnetiaux created the piece, collaborating with the actor and musician David Casteal, who plays the title role of York. Harnetiaux said the play is meant to show a different side of history.

“We wanted to tell the story in the kind of Howard Zinn tradition; not by the victor, but by the vanquished,” he said. “What if York wasn't illiterate? What if York was able to tell his story?”

Harnetiaux, playwright-in-residence at the Spokane Civic Theatre in Washington, was asked to write a play about the Lewis and Clark journey for the 2005 bicentennial celebration. After weeks of researching, he could not hone in on a story and eventually he turned down the commission.

A few weeks later, inspiration struck. Harnetiaux said he woke up in the morning and saw a vision of York standing at the end of the bed. Then he saw Casteal standing next to York -- and he knew he needed to write a play about York starring Casteal.

He had worked with Casteal before in his play “National Pastime” about Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in baseball. The two set out to bring York to life on stage. Harnetiaux worked to craft the story while Casteal scored the djembe drumming rhythm heard throughout the play.

Even though York had the same responsibilities as the rest of the expedition, very little is mentioned of him. York may have been the first Black man to have crossed the continent north of Mexico.

When the crew returned from their journey, every member except for York received money and land for their service. The historical record is unclear if York received his freedom from Clark.

Casteal said he was saddened that York’s contributions have been ignored.

“I think it speaks directly to slavery and how our slaves were treated and how they were looked at as essentially almost non-humans,” Casteal said.

Carrying the one-man play, Casteal says he is constantly moving and working. He plays York and voices the other expedition members as they interact with him. He is exhausted by the end of each performance but said playing York is rewarding work.

“I get to help tell this story or what might have been had somebody cared to listen,” he said.

York’s position as a slave contrasts with his place among Native American tribes, where he was a person of great interest. His skin color intrigued the indigenous people and he was treated with curiosity. Harnetiaux said York was considered a “Black Indian” by the Nez Perce tribe.

Stephen Reichard, executive director of the ReBuilding Center, saw the original York play in Spokane in 2006 and was mesmerized by the performance. Two years later, he moved to Portland to become the chief operating officer of Planned Parenthood of the Columbia Willamette.

When Planned Parenthood moved its headquarters to Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd, it became the focus of community tension about abortion and reproductive services for African Americans. Reichard wanted to present the play in Portland as part of community outreach, but the idea fell apart.

When he began work with The ReBuilding Center, he rekindled the idea of hosting York. He called Harnetiaux to revive the play and was surprised to hear that Harnetiaux and Casteal were already planning a revival.

Reichard said it was serendipity to finally be able to show the play in Portland. He said he hasn’t been able to forget about York since he saw it nearly a decade ago.

“I've had the bug for 10 years; it’s been a passion of mine to bring it to Portland,” Reichard said.

 

For more information, check out the ReBuilding Center’s page on York.

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