Staged Reading of Three Sisters, set on Tunica-Biloxi Reservation, Debuts in Avoyelles Parish

The Tunica-Biloxi Tribe and Oklahoma Indigenous Theatre Company presents the story of three Tunica-Biloxi sisters written by playwright with Tunica roots.

The Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana, in conjunction with the Oklahoma Indigenous Theatre Company, presents a staged reading of THREE SISTERS at 7 p.m. on Friday, March 24, and Saturday, March 25, at Paragon Casino Resort.

Written by playwright Carolyn Dunn, a descendant of the Tunica-Biloxi and other Native American tribes, THREE SISTERS shares the story of three sisters, long estranged from family, community, and one another, as they return home to the Tunica-Biloxi Reservation lands in Avoyelles Parish in Louisiana at the behest of their dying aunt as she makes preparations for her final journey home.

The performance explores familial ties and tensions, hidden secrets and death when they meet at the intersection of love, loss, tradition and culture in this two-act, spiritual play.

Dunn's Native American heritage gives her a deep, innate understanding of what motivates her characters and the connection between culture and relationships. THREE SISTERS give credence to the struggles of the Native American community and the plight tribal citizens face to preserve their culture and traditions when faced with the challenges and pressures of today's society. The script was initially commissioned by the Anishinaabe Theatre Exchange and the University of Michigan's School of Theatre's World Performance and Politics center.

"I wrote this play because I wanted to make the connection between climate change and the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women phenomenon rampant in Indian Country, and honestly, everywhere, not just Indian Country," Dunn said. "Climate change has especially affected Louisiana Indians as our communities continue to experience loss of land, language, and spiritual practice."

According to Dunn, the Ojibwe peoples, like the Louisiana Indians, are water people--- and related culturally not only through their relationship to water but ancestrally as many Louisiana Indians are mixed race through their Acadian ancestors and can trace their relationships through the Micmaq, Cree and Ojibwe intermarriage with the Acadians that later came to Louisiana and intermarried with Louisiana's Indigenous and Creole populations.

Dunn is especially excited to bring this play home to the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe, who have welcomed her as a tribal descendant to the homelands of her Ancestors.

"My work as a playwright and as an academic has always centered on home and healing of soul wounds caused by colonization and how ancestral memory is central in our lives as Indigenous peoples," Dunn said. "I also want to show the world that Louisiana Indians continue to survive in spite of continuing erasure of our language, folklore, land base, and cultures, and others who insist we should not and don't exist."

The Tunica-Biloxi people first appeared in the Mississippi Valley. In the late 1700s, they settled near Marksville, where they were skilled traders and entrepreneurs. Today, the Tribe has more than 1,500 members throughout the United States, primarily in Louisiana, Texas and Illinois.

The Tunica-Biloxi Tribe received federal recognition in 1981 for its reservation within the boundaries of Louisiana. The Tribe owns and operates the Paragon Casino Resort, the largest employer in Central Louisiana. Through its compact, negotiated by the late Tribal Chairman Earl J. Barbry Sr. and the State of Louisiana, the Tribe has assisted local governments in the area with its quarterly distribution of funds, totaling more than $40 million over two decades.

"It is important for not only the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana, but all of Indian Country to share pieces of our culture with those unfamiliar with our history and traditions," said John Barbry, Director of the Tunica-Biloxi Language and Culture Revitalization Program. "Our hope is to continue spreading our culture across the country, and with the help of THREE SISTERS and Carolyn Dunn, we are well on our way. I encourage all audiences to partake in this wonderful story that transcends cultural divides."

"This partnership between the Tunica Biloxi Tribe, Oklahoma Indigenous Theatre Company, and Anishinaabe Theatre Exchange is what I dreamt of when I wrote this play," Dunn said. "Community-based performance traditions shared and exchanged in a nation-to-nation pedagogy that represents the best of how we can interact with one another to share Indigenous knowledge and build relationships rooted in ancestral traditions.

THREE SISTERS is playing at Paragon Casino Resort on March 24 and 25 at 7 p.m. The staged readings are free and open to the public. For additional ticketing information, contact Paulette Voiselle at or (318) 240-6400. The performance sponsors include The Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana, the Tunica-Biloxi Education Department, the Tunica-Biloxi Language and Culture Revitalization Program and the Oklahoma Indigenous Theatre Company.

For more information about the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana, visit


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