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By Constance Lindsay Skinner
Adapted by Joan Bryans
Introduction by Jean Barman
Subjects: Rural Settings, Western Playwrights, British Columbia, Family Life, History, Adaptations, Women Writers
Casting: 6 f, 5 m
Duration: 120 minutes
Imprint: Playwrights Canada Press
Paperback : 9780887547522, 104 pages, November 2005


In the British Columbia frontier in 1905, missionary Robert Maclean has an ever-increasing foothold of power and influence. Into the swirling melee of shifting allegiances steps Precious Conroy, Maclean’s adopted daughter.

Precious is unaware that she was sent away for schooling to avoid the shame and discrimination which would occur should the secret get out that she is part Native. The son of the local chief, himself a product of a mixed marriage, is in love with her but so too is the son of the house. What will happen when, as it must, the secret of her parentage gets out?

Determined to walk her own revolutionary path for freedom, Precious's actions trigger in others all the prejudices and hypocrisies of the day. Skinner pulls no punches, and her indictment of these prejudices, both Native and white, religious and secular, while often couched in humour, touches as many raw nerves as ever.


"What a fantastic find. Watching Birthright is like reading your great-grandmother's private diaries. And like most intimate family records, the script presents a puzzle of conflicted sensibilities, all of which inform our own identity…. At its best, Birthright approaches the work of Henrik Ibsen, the father of naturalism… this work is part of our political and cultural birthright…"

- Colin Thomas, The Georgia Straight