Cafe Daughter is a solo drama inspired by a true story about a Chinese-Cree girl growing up in Saskatchewan in the 1950s and 60s.
Charlie Wong emigrated from China to rural Saskatchewan, where he opened a restaurant. But provincial law prevented Charlie from hiring white women to work for him. Katherine, a young Cree woman from a nearby reserve, took a job at the cafe. In time, the two fell in love, married, and had a daughter—Yvette.
The story begins in 1957, as nine-year-old Yvette Wong helps out in her parents’ cafe in Alistair, Saskatchewan. She’s incredibly bright but has been placed in the slow learners’ class because of her skin colour. Her mother Katherine, who was forced to attend a residential school, is conflicted about her identity and has charged Yvette with a secret–to never tell anyone she’s part Cree. Yvette has dreams that her mother nourishes, but when Katherine dies and Yvette and her father move to Saskatoon, Yvette must try to pursue her dreams alone, carving a path uniquely her own.
News & Reviews
“We want to hug and comfort the scared little girl, laugh with the rebellious First Nation girlfriend, knock down the insensitive bullies, rage at the thoughtless teachers who discriminate and put down the dreams of youth… Cafe Daughter is a poignant, stirring and funny look at one girl’s journey to realize that potential.” —What’s Up Yukon
About the Author
Kenneth T. Williams is a Cree playwright, filmmaker and journalist from the George Gordon First Nation in Saskatchewan. His plays Cafe Daughter, Thunderstick, Bannock Republic, Suicide Notes, Gordon Winter, In Care, Three Little Birds and The Herd have been professionally produced across Canada. Ken teaches at the University of Alberta, where he was the first Indigenous writer to earn an MFA in playwriting. He resides in Edmonton.