Bridge over trou­bled wa­ter

Pasatiempo - - PASATIEMPO - Pasatiempo. Taste the Time

Scat­ter Their Own com­bines Na­tive ac­tivism with rock

Among the first group of ac­tivists ar­rested this past sum­mer as part of the Stand­ing Rock Sioux Reser­va­tion protests against the crude oil Dakota Ac­cess Pipe­line were Scotti Clif­ford and Ju­liana Brown Eyes, a mar­ried cou­ple who also per­form as Scat­ter Their Own, an Oglala Lakota band from Pine Ridge, South Dakota. The band’s bluesy in­die-rock an­thems celebrate the sa­cred­ness of land and wa­ter to their tribe. They call their mix of ac­tivism and gui­tar-driven songs “Al­ter-Na­tive Rock & Roll.”

“We were there at the be­gin­ning when there were only 50 or 60 peo­ple at the camp. We were one of the first 10 in­di­vid­u­als ar­rested at Stand­ing Rock,” Clif­ford told “One of the things my friend Hank Means, who is the son of Rus­sell Means, said was ‘We are not protest­ing. We are pro­tect­ing the wa­ter. We are wa­ter pro­tec­tors, not pro­test­ers.’ The best thing about this move­ment is it has brought 300 Na­tive Amer­i­can tribes to­gether. Peo­ple from all over the world are stand­ing in sol­i­dar­ity as rel­a­tives.”

For sev­eral years now, the band has been tour­ing the coun­try, per­form­ing a set list of songs that ex­plore Lakota iden­tity and the band mem­bers’ connection to their her­itage and to the earth. As thou­sands of peo­ple have con­verged in South Dakota to de­fend the wa­ter sup­ply of the Stand­ing Rock Sioux Na­tion against the oil pipe­line con­struc­tion, the band’s mes­sage has be­come as ur­gent as it is lo­cal. When Scat­ter Their Own plays on Fri­day, Dec. 2, at the Dig­i­tal Dome at the In­sti­tute of Amer­i­can Indian Arts, Clif­ford and Brown Eyes will likely have a lot to ad­dress with the au­di­ence. Prior to the con­cert, on the IAIA cam­pus, Clif­ford and Brown Eyes will also be lead­ing free stu­dent work­shops on how to ne­go­ti­ate life as a per­form­ing artist while pro­mot­ing Na­tive ac­tivism and pre­serv­ing one’s indige­nous her­itage.

“A few years back, Scat­ter Their Own formed out of a so­cial move­ment,” said Clif­ford. “The name comes from the idea that we wanted to scat­ter our own Lakota point of view. We wanted to scat­ter those concepts and philoso­phies, so hence the name Scat­ter Their Own, as in scat­ter their own beauty across the coun­try.”

As a teenager, Clif­ford was al­ready tour­ing the coun­try as a back­ing guitarist with Indige­nous, an­other well-known Na­tive Amer­i­can South Dakota band that mixed lyrics cel­e­brat­ing Amer­i­can Indian life with a bluesy rock style. The cel­e­brated band has per­formed in­ter­na­tion­ally, in­clud­ing open­ing sta­dium con­certs for Bon­nie Raitt and B.B. King.

It’s easy to see Indige­nous’ in­flu­ence on Scat­ter Their Own. While the band hasn’t opened sta­di­ums or played Late Night with Co­nan O’Brien the way Indige­nous has, Scat­ter Their Own has carved out a more in­die route to de­vel­op­ing a fan base that is both Na­tive and non-Na­tive. The band’s 2014 al­bum was pro­moted through Na­tive me­dia and through its per­for­mances at the South by South­west fes­ti­val in Austin. It’s been nom­i­nated for Na­tive Amer­i­can Mu­sic awards (the NAMMYs), while pro­files of the band mem­bers

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