An American tale

WARREN – The Ohio Chautauqua tent on Mahoning Avenue filled to capacity with about 630 people in attendance to hear Dianne Moran portray Olive Oatman, an American captured by Native Americans in the 1850s.

“I have asked you here to relieve the burden of my soul,” Moran said.

She then removed a large black veil that had been covering her face to reveal Oatman’s distinguishing blue tattoos on her chin. Moran continued with Oatman’s tale of being captured by a group of Native Americans who killed her family as they traveled west to relocate with a group of Mormons.

Wednesday was the second day of the free, traveling show sponsored and presented by Ohio Humanities that features historical characterizations and continues through Saturday. It is hosted locally by the Tribune Chronicle and the Warren-Trumbull County Public Library and is in partnership with Trumbull 100 and the Trumbull County Tourism Bureau, with support from the Warren Library Association.

Sitting outside the tent’s opening were Susan Jones of Mecca and her two visiting grandchildren, Brianna Chilson, 11, and Garrett Chilson, 8.

“They wanted to learn about the Indians,” Jones said. “They love history.”

Despite their distance from the stage, Garrett expressed his excitement for Oatman’s story.

“I really like Indians. I have part American Indian in my blood,” he said.

As Moran took to the stage, he and his sister settled into their seats for the show.

“Warren is one of our best communities,” said Fran Tiburzio, Ohio Chautauqua coordinator. “It’s not just warm bodies in the seats, they are actively interested and engaged.”

Tiburzio encouraged those attending to bring their own lawn chairs for the following days of performances where they might come for entertainment and “learn by accident.”