160 pages
ISBN 0-88922-490-0
DDC C812'.54





Reviewed by David E. Kemp

David E. Kemp, a former professor of drama at Queen’s University, is
the author of The Pleasures and Treasures of the United Kingdom.


Order of Canada inductee Tomson Highway is Native theatre in this
country. His award-winning plays have been translated into numerous
languages. He co-founded Native Earth Performing Arts, Canada’s first
Aboriginal theatre, and served as its artistic director for six years.

Rose is the eagerly awaited third instalment in Highway’s “Rez”
cycle. A large-cast musical set on the Wasaychigan Hill Reserve in 1992,
it reintroduces many of the characters from the first two plays, The Rez
Sisters and Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing.

The play features three Roses. One Rose has recently become chief of
the reserve and must fight continually to keep her position and maintain
the integrity of her Native culture. Another Rose died seven years
earlier in the saddle of her Harley while on her glorious, but grievous
journey to women’s liberation. The third Rose never even had a chance
to be born.

Emily Dictionary and some of her female biker pals take centre stage
when Big Joey enlists the Sudbury Mafia to help with his plans to open a
multimillion-dollar dream casino in the women’s cherished Community
Hall on the Rez. Bob Rae, premier of Ontario at the time, signs the
first Indian treaty in a hundred years with Chief Big Rose. Violence
against women is a powerful issue in the play as the battle for the
future of the community builds to its shattering climax.


Highway, Tomson., “Rose,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 13, 2024,