November 20, 2020 Native American Heritage Month

Sliver of a Full Moon: Live Performance and Panel Discussion

Are you missing live theatre during the pandemic? On November 20. we hosted a special live performance of Sliver of a Full Moon, a portrayal of resistance and celebration. It is the story of a movement that restored the authority of Indian tribes over non-Indian abusers to protect women on tribal lands. Although thousands contributed to this victory, Sliver of a Full Moon follows the story of five Native women who took a stand and two Native men, including Congressman Tom Cole, who stood with them to win this victory. Playwright Mary Kathryn Nagle has updated the play to continue to reflect current reality. Following the performance, there will be a panel discussion among survivors, legal practitioners, and the playwright that will stimulate a dialogue regarding how the current legal framework, where Native nations have been stripped of their inherent jurisdiction, leaves Native women unprotected and disenfranchised. As a result of these legal inequalities, Native women suffer rates of domestic violence and sexual assault higher than any other class of American citizens. This unique event combines law and art, and brings together practitioners, participants, artists, and survivors to discuss and envision how the law can be used to remedy this, and other injustices in tribal communities.​

We are grateful for the generosity of Loren Kieve, Jerry Gardner, Thomasina Real Bird, Robert Saunooke, Mary L. Smith, Geoffrey Strommer, and the Native American Rights Fund that allows us to offer the gift of live theatre once again!

Welcome and Introduction

  • Patricia Lee Refo, President, American Bar Association; Partner, Snell & Wilmer LLP

Performance by

  • DeLanna Studi
DeLanna Studi is a proud citizen of the Cherokee Nation. She is an actor/playwright whose TV credits include Dreamkeeper, Edge of America, Shameless, General Hospital, Z Nation, and the recent season of Goliath. Her theater credits include the First National Broadway Tour of August: Osage County, Off-Broadway’s Informed Consent and Gloria: A Life. She retraced her family’s footsteps along the Trail of Tears with her father and created her play And So We Walked which has been touring for the last two years. And So We Walked was the first American play selected to perform at the Journées Théâtrales de Carthage in North Africa. DeLanna is the Chair of SAG-AFTRA’s National Native Americans Committee and the Artistic Director of Native Voices at the Autry, the only Native American Equity Theater in the country devoted to developing and producing new work by Indigenous playwrights.
Enrico Nassi (Enrolled Member of the Otoe-Missouria Tribe, Cherokee) Most Recently in: Sovereignty as John Ridge (Theater for a New Audience) Lying With Badgers as Asher (Native Voices at the Autry). Regional credits include Diana, Ensemble (La Jolla Playhouse); Billy, The Real Thing (Studio Theatre); Ned, Exorcism (Arena Stage); Danielle, 1938: Inventing the Enemy (Theater J); Man, Machinalia (JACK.BROOKLYN). MFA from UCSD.
  • Kenneth Ruthardt
Kenneth Ruthardt is a Mescalero Apache actor from New Mexico. He loves working on stage and Back Room Shakespeare productions. His favorite theatre roles include Chief, a fool, Lord, a homeless man, and of course being Tom Cole. He also appeared in the Sundance movie Drunktown’s Finest and various TV shows that include recurring roles in Longmire and Better Call Saul. He is writing a dramedy for a TV pilot he hopes to pitch soon. 
  • Lisa Brunner
Lisa Brunner is a citizen of the White Earth Ojibwe Nation and is Wolf Clan. Lisa has worked in the domestic violence and sexual assault field for over 20 years and was the executive director of Sacred Spirits First Nations Coalition for 13 years whose work addressed violence against Native American and Alaska Native women.  Sacred Spirits First Nations Coalition is responsible for the creation of the Harm Reduction program on the White Earth reservation in its response to the heroin epidemic and has since become a model for Tribes and States. Ms. Brunner has advocated on the local, state, national and international levels to bring about change to public policy to address violence against Native women, men and children. On a national level, she has served on panels and focus groups addressing jurisdictional issues that impact the safety of Native women, men and children. Lisa has also served on a panel at the United Nations regarding violence against Indigenous Women of North America. Lisa has participated for five years at the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and participated in Global Indigenous Women’s Caucus. Lisa is also a founding member of the National Congress of American Indians, Violence Against Women Task Force. She has also testified at Thematic Hearing on “Violence Against Native Women in the United States” before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Lisa has testified before Congress for the Hearing on “Combating Human Trafficking: Federal, State, and Local Perspectives” before the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. Lisa has also been featured in publications such as The Inter-American Human Rights System-Handbook, National Museum of American Indians Magazine, and Restoration Magazines. Lisa is also published in Psychology of Violence Journal. Lisa has served on the National Technical Working Group, “SOAR to Health & Wellness Training for Health Care Providers to Respond to Human Trafficking” nationally. Lisa was honored with the Bonnie HeavyRunner Award for her work.  She is a 2016 Bush Fellow. Lisa is currently the Director of Indigenous Women’s Human Rights Collective. She is also a Professor of Anishinaabe Culture and Indigenous Women’s Issues at the White Earth Tribal and Community College and is also the Director of the Community Extension Service and Cultural Department.
  • Diane Millich
My name is Diane Millich, and I am an enrolled member of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe located in Ignacio, Colorado. Living on the reservation and near my immediate family, I never experienced domestic violence until I got married. I went from being a domestic violence victim to survivor to advocate. I reside in Durango, Colorado where I founded the nonprofit, Our Sister’s Keeper an organization that focused on providing, primarily, to Native American women and children but to anyone victimized by domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking. I have been on the National stage having worked with the Obama Administration on the Violence Against Women Act, Title IX, Safety to Indian Women that was signed into law in 2013. I currently am the owner of Diane’s Tortilla Burger which is a fast-casual restaurant serving griddle fried burgers on a homemade tortillas or fry bread. I am available for future speaking arrangements where I share my struggles, my journey and my courage to leave my abuser. Thank you for your time. 
  • Candice Byrd
Candice Byrd of the Cherokee Nation, Osage Nation, and Quapaw Nation received her MFA of Performing Arts from SCAD in 2015. Theatre highlights include: Sarah Ridge Polson in Sovereignty; Marigold Page in Bound;Bright Eyes/Prairie Rose/Betsy in Return to Niobrara; Terri Henry/Deborah Parker/Billie Jo Rich in Sliver of a Full Moon; Sacajawea/Carey in Crossing Mnisose; Lily in A Tlingit Christmas Carol.  In 2017, Candice participated as TYA/ASSITEJ’s 19th World Congress Artist-in-Residence. In 2019, she was awarded the TATE award for her portrayal of Sarah Ridge Polson in Sovereignty. She is honored and humbled to return for this installment of Sliver of a Full Moon.  Wado/Da-tlee/Gu-ne-gay to Creator, my family and glad to be working with this group of talented artists once more.
  • Melissa Brady
  • Billie Jo Rich
  • Craig Marker
Craig Marker is a San Francisco Bay Area actor. His credits include roles as Andrew Jackson/Ben in Mary Kathryn Nagle's Sovereignty, King Henry VIII and James I in Anne Boleyn and Nick Bright in Invisible Hand at Marin Theatre Company, Frederick Fellows in Noises Off at San Francisco Playhouse, and Alcippe in The Liar at Center REPertory Company. Marker has performed for California Shakespeare Theater, San Jose Repertory Theatre, Portland Center Stage, La Jolla Playhouse, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, The San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, TheatreWorks, Shotgun Players, Barbican Theatre (UK), Birmingham Repertory Theatre (UK), Edinburgh Fringe Festival (UK), and the Cyprus International Festival of Greek Drama. For more information visit
  • Ella Dershowitz
Ella Dershowitz is thrilled and honored to be working with Mary Kathryn Nagle again after performing in Sovereignty at Marin Theatre Company last fall. Off-Broadway/NYC: Can You Forgive Her? (Vineyard Theater), Intimacy (The New Group), Card and Gift (Clubbed Thumb), Connected (59E59), On The Verge (Attic Theater), Three Musketeers 1941 (Project Y), A Splintered Soul (Theater Three). Regional: Actually (Aurora), The Wolves (Capital Stage), The Siegel (City Lights), Thomas and Sally (Marin Theatre Company), 4,000 Miles (Hudson Stage), You Will Remember Me (Hudson Stage), Visitors (MV Playhouse), The Screenwriter’s Daughter (MV Playhouse), Twelfth Night (Payomet). TV/Film: Phil Spector (HBO), The Affair (Showtime), Lie to Me (Fox), Knife Fight, Two-Bit Waltz, Addiction: A 60’s Love Story, I Am Michael, Pitching Tents. Training: Yale University and LAMDA.
  • Liz Frances
Liz Frances is a talented, multiethnic actress best known for her on-camera roles such as Angela Maryboy in Drunktown's Finest, produced by Robert Redford which premiered at Sundance Film Festival; Bad Penny in the Emmy®-nominated series Her Story; Lilly Rowan on Netflix's Love from producer Judd Apatow; NBC’s Heartbeat; FX’s Mayans M.C.; and Prairie Flower on AMC's hit series The Son starring Pierce Brosnan. She received a BFA from Cal Arts, and started her professional career working with such notable theaters as Center Theater Group, La Jolla Playhouse, Los Angeles Theatre Center, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, Marin Theater Company, Native Voices, and the Kirk Douglas Theatre. Recently, Frances has taken on a new role as Executive Producer with Writer/Director Lisa Donato on her film Foxy Trot which premiered in Vancouver and at Outfest in Los Angeles. After finding mentors on the AMC producing team, and partnering up with Zero Gravity (Ozarks, Beasts of No Nation) Elizabeth began development with both Through The Wilderness (Blessed, Seppuku, First Girl I Loved) co-creating a television drama PRIVILEGE, and with co-creating the drama/sci-fi show INHERENT, along with a comic book of the same name. They will begin shooting a short version in early 2019 with Director Tripp Reed and Producer Margie Templo Parks, along with an all star cast. Off-screen and stage, she volunteers her time, working with youth in the arts on reservations and in Los Angeles.
  • Derek Garza
Derek Garza (Wichita/Comanche) is a DC based actor and is an enrolled tribal member of the Wichita Nation. He is a graduate of Adams State University with a BA in Theatre and a graduate of Penn State University with an MFA in Acting. Check out for more about Derek.

Panel Discussion Speakers

  • Congresswoman Deb Haaland, U.S. Representative for New Mexico’s First District (Pueblo of Laguna)
  • Mary Kathryn Nagle, Playwright, Sliver of  a Full Moon; Partner, Pipestem Law (Cherokee Nation)
  • Mary L. Smith (Moderator), Vice Chair, VENG Group; Chair, Caroline and Ora Smith Foundation (Cherokee Nation)

Co-Sponsors:  ABA Commission on Domestic and Sexual ViolenceABA Diversity and Inclusion Center,  ABA Division for Public EducationABA Tribal Courts CouncilCaroline and Ora Smith Foundation, Mitchell Museum of the American IndianNational Congress of American IndiansNational Native American Bar Association, Native American Rights Fund, Northlight Theatre


Transcript: Sliver of a Full Moon: Live Performance and Panel Discussion

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