First, we acknowledge that Perseverance Theatre is on the sacred homelands of the Áak’w Kwán on Lingít Aani, also colonially known as Douglas-Juneau. We also acknowledge that Lingít Peoples have been stewards of this land since time immemorial and we are grateful for that stewardship and incredible care.

We recognize the series of unjust actions that attempted to remove the Lingít from their land, which includes forced relocations and the burning of villages. We honor the relationships that exist between Lingít Peoples; their lands, their ancestors, descendants, and future generations. We aspire to work toward healing and liberation, recognizing our paths are intertwined in the complex histories of colonization in Alaska.

We also honor and express deep gratitude to the Dena’ina of southcentral Alaska where we also conduct our work in what is colonially known as, Anchorage, Alaska.

An acknowledgment is only the beginning– we must include an acknowledgment of ongoing colonial violence against Indigenous peoples everywhere. Perseverance is taking on the responsibility to learn about settler colonialism to forward decolonizing and re-indigenizing processes to be in right-relations and alignment with Alaska Native and all Native/Indigenous Ancestors, Elders and Descendants past and present to support and advocate for their sovereignty now and well into our future. We work to encourage our neighbors and friends to join us in the continued re-Indigenization of the field of theatre, as we decolonize, work towards our collective liberation, and become good stewards of our relationships, community, land, air and sea.

We know the brilliance; the vibrant languages, cultures, traditions, ways of life and relationships with all aspects of Alaska Native worlds bring knowledges and understandings we cannot know or access without their consent or partnership. We seek to build a right relationship with the Native peoples of Alaska and all Native/Indigenous because it will make our work better (it already has) and because it is the right thing to do.

We acknowledge that we arrived here by listening to the leaders/peoples/elders and their lessons from the past and these stories carry us as we weave a healthier world for future generations.

We are grateful to the Lingít, Dena’ina and all Alaska Native and Native/Indigenous Peoples for our ever-growing relations and collaborations with their leaders, elders, descendants, and organizations that bless us to continue our work and stewardship of Perseverance on Lingít Aani.

Gunalchéesh, Háw’aa, Nt’oyaxsn, Chin’an!


Perseverance Theatre Welcomes You To Our 44th Season!

We are so excited you are joining us for the world premiere of Where The Summit Meets The Stars, written and directed by Frank Henry Kaash Katasse (Tlingit)!

This is an important moment to uplift the opening of this new work of Tlingít playwright, Frank Henry Kaash Katasse on Tlingít Aani of the Áak’w Kwáan. Finally, we are able to premiere this new work and lift up Frank Katasse’s Perseverance directorial debut! Again, we illuminate Frank Katasse’s brilliance and that of the cast, crew, and the creative and production teams, many of whom are returning to work with Perseverance. Aatlein gunalchéesh~

So…where does the summit meet the stars? At the peak of any of our stunning Tongass National Forest Mountaintops? Where, on a dark starry night, on an Aurora-filled night, we feel we can touch and dance with the celestial fields?

Like no other playwright, Frank Katasse captures and pays tribute to our breathtaking Southeast region and navigates a journey through the peaks and valleys of this intergenerational family. It is a powerful gift that he bestows on us with his storytelling–a story that is filled with his guidance of where the summit meets the stars.

As we continue to navigate epidemics/pandemics, I find we are aware, more than ever, of how fragile life is and the need to create a more humane world. This calls us all to be brave enough to look both inwardly and outwardly to recognize each other as fully human– to persevere to heal ourselves and support others to heal.

This also brings me to a moment of remembrance. At the final workshop reading of this play in December 2019, directed by Allison Holtkamp-Waid, many respected Tlingit Elders, family, friends, and community members attended this gathering that culminated in the workshop. Deeply respected Tlingit Clan Leader, Kingeesti David Katzeek, Frank Katasse’s Elder, was present and offered beautiful words and wisdom after experiencing the play reading. We were grateful for his presence then and continue to honor Kingeesti David Katzeek now as an Ancestor. Aatlein gunalchéesh~

Today, more than ever, as our families and communities grow, we are supporting the reclamation of Alaska Native languages, art, culture, traditions, along with the wisdom of Ancestors, Elders, and Descendants to heal historical and contemporary traumas. Where The Summit Meets The Stars encourages us to talk to our family members and inspires our individual and collective courage and strength to heal. As Frank Katasses reminds us, “I gu.aa yáx x’wán.”

My deepest Japanese bow to Frank Henry Kaash Katasse, the staff, the entire creative company, and especially you, our audience members. Aatlein gunalchéech for your partnership, perseverance and support of our/your theatre. You are why we are still here.

Leslie Ishii,
Artistic Director

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