Drama. By Steven Dietz. Based on the unpublished memoir As My Sun Now Sets by Joyce Simmons Cheeka, as told to Werdna Phillips Finley.
Cast: 13m., 12w. (may double to as few as 9m., 8w., plus possible dancers and musicians.) The Rememberer tells the true story of Joyce Cheeka, a young Squaxin Indian girl, who is forcibly taken from her home and placed in a government-run school in 1911. As the chosen "rememberer" for her tribe—an honor passed down to her from her grandfather, Mud Bay Sam—it is Joyce's duty to pass on the stories, history and wisdom of her people. However, the aims of the white boarding school are quite the opposite. Their job is to eliminate any trace of Joyce's heritage. Through her friendship with the headmaster at the school, and with the help of her "spirit guide," Joyce succeeds in forming a bridge between this new world and the world of her ancestors. Through her patience, grit, humor, curiosity and inclusiveness of spirit, she does honor to the words of her elders: "Each day is a gift. And to waste that day is inexcusable. Account for yourself. Be useful." Joyce Simmons Cheeka lived a remarkable, heroic and, indeed, useful life. Ages 7 and up. Area staging. Approximate running time 90 minutes.