Wolf Point Herald

Yellow Robe’s Playwriting Talent Started In Wolf Point

Although Wolf Point native William Yellow Robe Jr. has written many plays that have received much more recognition, perhaps his very first play was the most important one in his life.
That play was written by Yellow Robe when he was only in the sixth grade after teacher Dorothy Grose encouraged him to complete the creative writing.
“She provided me the need to express myself in a different way that was more positive,” Yellow Robe said.
The encouragement led Yellow Robe to graduating from Wolf Point High School in 1978 and going on to study writing and performing arts at the University of Montana.
When Yellow Robe was experiencing his first professional reading at the Native American Theatre Ensemble in Los Angeles, he received an envelope from his former teacher with his plays written in the sixth grade.
“They weren’t bad, they weren’t great,” Yellow Robe said of his sixth-grade efforts. “I was thankful for the opportunity.”
Many plays and several awards later, Yellow Robe continues to make area residents proud of his accomplishments. Yellow Robe, a member of the Assiniboine and Sioux tribes of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, finished writing five new one-act plays in January.
“They are all first drafts,” Yellow Robe explained. During March, one of the plays was performed by the Native American Theatre in Minnesota.
He said all of his plays are about humanity. “I’ve always been interested to see how people’s humanity changes. The whole issue of if your humanity changes if you are treated badly.”
Yellow Robe said how his plays are received can be a mystery. “Sometimes a play that I didn’t particularly like, people really enjoy.”
His definition of a commercial success is writing a play that either wins a Pulitzer Prize or is nominated for Tony awards. “I have friends who have done that,” Yellow Robe said. His inspirations include authors August Wilson and Suzan-Lori Parks.
“My goal is basically to entertain and educate people,” Yellow Robe noted. “The bottom line for me is to tell a story.”
One of his favorite plays is “Sneaky” where he wrote about three brothers taking their mother’s body from a morgue  in order to have a traditional Native burial.
Another favorite is “Independence of Eddie Rose,” which deals with a young man’s struggles with alcoholism in his family.
Yellow Robe’s list of awards include the Princess Grace Foundation Theater Fellowship, The Playwrights’ Center Jerome Fellowship, Native Writers’ Circle of the Americas First Nations Book Award for Prose and the New England Theater Conference Special Award.
But near the top for Yellow Robe is receiving the ABC Better Community Award in Poplar during the late 1980s. “I really cherish that,” he said.
He also mentions that while he was attending Northern Montana College, he received an eagle feather from a non-traditional student who was a Vietnam War veteran. “And I never forgot that.”
Yellow Robe also hasn’t forgotten the beauty of Wolf Point. He said he misses going up to the water tower and walking to the swimming pool in the summer. “I also enjoyed being in that area and watching the thunderstorms come in,” he added. He has fond memories of watching the Northern Lights from Wolf Point’s baseball field and fishing on the Missouri River.
He is grateful for the support and encouragement from not only his family but friends and relatives in Wolf Point. “It’s their support that made my life possible.”
A goal is to have a professional theater company come to Wolf Point and perform one of his plays. “I hope to do that when I’m still alive,” Yellow Robe said.

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Wolf Point Staff Salutes Veteran Teachers Retiring

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Leaving The School
Honored at a reception last week were retiring educators, from left, Connie Bergen, Susie Brown, Maureen Piersak, Kathy Rauch and Maxine Strader.               (Photo by Bill Vander Weele)


Teacher Appreciation Week was an appropriate time for Wolf Point’s teachers and administrators to salute five women who have displayed great dedication to the school district and are now retiring.
Retiring from the school district are Connie Bergen, Susie Brown, Maureen Piersak, Kathy Rauch and Maxine Strader.

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Color Fun Run For Gym Floor Planned In Wolf Point May 15

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Promoting Color Fun Run
Student Council members and three-sport athletes Kelsie Neubauer, left, and Shelby Hanks have helped organize the color fun run to take place in Wolf Point.
(Photo by Bill Vander Weele)

 


For the first time ever, Wolf Point will have a color run in its community. The Wolf Point Student Council has scheduled a color fun run for Sunday, May 15, at the Wolf Point High School track.

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Wolf Point Native Hveem Plays Large Role In Big Apple

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Wolf Point native Lee Ellen Hveem has never been afraid to stand out. The 1973 Wolf Point graduate is currently the associate radio producer of the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

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Wolf Point School Board Offers Superintendent Position To Osborne

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School Interview
Candidate Rob Osborne answers a question during the public interview portion for Wolf Point superintendent of schools candidates on Monday, May 9.
(Photo by Bill Vander Weele)

After interviewing two candidates on Monday, May 9, the Wolf Point School board voted to offer the school superintendent position to Rob Osborne.
Osborne has seven years of experience as superintendent in Broadview. Osborne previously served as a teacher, coach and athletic director in the Lockwood School District. He received his bachelor’s degree from Eastern Montana College in Billings and earned his master of education in administration from Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Ariz.

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