'So much' music potential, pushing boundaries

On the show today Native composer Michael Begay is bringing opportunities to Native youth. Sandra Hale Schulman reports Nicholas Galanin taking his art one step further. ICT national correspondent Mary Annette Pember updates us on the Enbridge pipeline.
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The Grand Canyon has inspired creativity for generations. Musicians know this well through the Grand Canyon Music Festival. Since 1983, the festival has had a unique relationship with nearby tribes.

The Native American Composers Apprenticeship Program brings Native youth together with professional classical musicians and composers. Michael Begay was an apprentice, and now he’s a teacher.

If you travel near the Santa Monica mountains, you most likely will see letters that stand 45-feet-tall proclaiming the area, “Indian Land.”

It’s a not so subtle reference to the famous “Hollywood” sign that’s closer to Los Angeles.

Nicholas Galanin created the art installation he calls, “Never Forget.” It’s one of 13 pieces of art from various artists for the Desert X 2021 exhibition.

But as Sandra Hale Schulman reports, Galanin is taking his art one step further.

Several Native groups have taken a stand against oil pipelines and now the state of Michigan is being joined with 12 tribes in taking a stand against one pipeline that’s nearly 70 years old.

Mary Annette Pember is a national correspondent for Indian Country Today and her story, “Enbridge pipeline showdown looms in Michigan” focuses on the plans to run the line 5 tunnel under the Straits of Mackinac.

Read more:
Art installation calls for return of Native lands
Land, earth and art join forces at Desert X 2021
Enbridge pipeline showdown looms in Michigan

A slice of our Indigenous world  

  • The Tohono O’odham Nation in Arizona is not letting up on getting its citizens vaccinated against COVID-19.

  • Thousands of years of history is unfolding after the discovery of a 4,000-year-old canoe in South Carolina’s Cooper River.
  • An art installation in southern California is calling for the return of stolen land taken from the Cahuilla people. 
  • Though international travel is still restricted, Russia’s St. Petersburg Sand Sculpture is bringing the world to its festival.
  • Intense contact tracing and keeping an eye on high risk individuals is being credited for helping the White Mountain Apache Tribe in Arizona, fight COVID-19. 
  • The show Grey’s Anatomy is now featuring its first Indigenous doctor.

Some quotes from today's show:

Michael Begay

“I've been trying to chase music programs around for quite a while. Growing up, I moved around a lot due to my father's work and it was very challenging trying to find a music composition program and I've always been trying to get in a music program down in Phoenix. When I was in high school there eventually I moved back to the reservation and that's when I found a NAYCAP with the Grand Canyon Music Festival and I've just never left. I started writing compositions as a teenager. I've worked with many Native American composers while I was growing up.” 

“It's untapped yet still, and there's so much potential for development and to push the boundaries of all of these rules and what not. I think it all comes down to the story and the connection between people, the story, the land, and finding that common ground between all of us.”

Sandra Hale

“He wanted to make a really big statement and he sure did. He took the cue from the, it originally said Hollywood land in Hollywood, Florida, in Hollywood, California. And he wanted to proclaim that this is Indian land. I mean, it was all Indian land to start with. So he shortened down and just put the Indian Land. He constructed that on site. It's extremely large when you get up close to it, there's big steel scaffolding behind it. And then the bright light letters.” 

“Liz built his movie studio maybe I guess towards 100 years ago and the actors couldn't travel very far on your days off on the weekends because they had to be back in the studio. So they started coming out to the Palm Springs area, which had the Morongo Indians and the Cahuilla Tribe is there. And it's a beautiful area. There's hot springs and Palm trees and there's mountains and there's desert. It's really lovely.”

Mary Annette Pember

"Spewing oil into essentially two different lakes, on which many people depend on tribes and native folks and non-natives for fishing. And then of course the impact on the environment in general. So Enbridge who owns the pipeline had proposed building this like $500 million tunnel under the street. So they would dig down underneath the straits and put like actually a dual pipeline system underneath.”

“Often opponents of pipelines will go to court and try to get a judge, a federal judge, a state judge who's ever deciding to stop oil while they're there while the case is being litigated. But so far that hasn't happened that I see in any case where we just saw in the Dakota Access Pipeline that the judge just ruled that Energy Transfer could continue running oil through the pipeline while the lawsuit questioning the Army Corps of engineers permitting process is ongoing."

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Mark Trahant, Shoshone-Bannock, is editor of Indian Country Today. On Twitter: @TrahantReports Trahant is based in Phoenix. 

Mary Annette Pember, citizen of the Red Cliff Ojibwe tribe, is national correspondent for Indian Country Today. On Twitter: @mapember. Based in Cincinnati, Ohio. Pember loves film, books and jingle dress dancing.

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