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"Really? You don't look it.” Those five words could essentially sum up my first play Salt Baby. Growing up on Six Nations I grew up being called a Salt Baby, a "white" looking "Indian." Fair skin and curly hair made me more of a Shirley Temple type than a Pocahontas type. As I'm sure you can imagine this was not an easy experience. Salt Baby was born out of my experiences navigating the Rez and the city. I had/have to explain myself and my blood quantum with each step I take, "My mother was this and my father was that. And yes they are both Aboriginal."
What I'd really like Salt Baby to do is empower my audience to feel like they or we understand each other a little better. Canada has such a hidden history that is rarely taught in schools so we often walk through life not knowing and by the time we think to ask the hard questions it can feel too late, it can feel to uncomfortable. Being a "Salt Baby" I have heard the most intensely racist things because I am, in a sense, unseen. I am invisible as an Aboriginal person. I've seen the disservice that the Canadian education system has done to its population. With Salt Baby I want to ask questions and open a dialogue. I also would like the audience, Native and non, to walk away with an understanding that you can't judge an book by its cover, a big old cliché I know, but a true statement nonetheless. The lines of racial and cultural identity are complex and difficult to pin down. Although the play is written from an Indigenous perspective it is for everyone and I think it resonates well in many cultures.
— Falen Johnson
What's it like to grow up as a contemporary First Nations person who doesn't look like a typical 'Indian'?
This first feature play by Six Nations playwright Falen Johnson is a humorous look at how stereotypes and blood quantum are viewed by society.