image © ScottClark
I’m very excited to be going into the studio this week to record some music that my band (ScottClark4tet) and I have been working on for quite some time now. The music was inspired in part by some of the events described in Dee Brown’s book “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee” as well as many other books describing the history of Native Americans, and their dealings with white settlers and politicians. This music has been a great source of inspiration to me, and the musicians in the band have really made this music come to life over the past few months. I am really looking forward to recording this music and I am planning for debut of the suite sometime this November.
On November 29th of this year, there will be a remembrance of the Sand Creek Massacre (one of the main events that inspired this music and spawned much of my personal study on the subject). It is described by the National Parks Service as “…one of the most emotionally charged and controversial events in American history, a tragedy reflective of its time and place.”
More from the National Parks Service website about Sand Creek (http://www.nps.gov/sand/historyculture/index.htm)
“At dawn on November 29, 1864, approximately 675 U.S. volunteer soldiers commanded by Colonel John M. Chivington attacked a village of about 700 Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians along Sand Creek in southeastern Colorado Territory. Using small arms and howitzer fire, the troops drove the people out of their camp. While many managed to escape the initial onslaught, others, particularly noncombatant women, children, and the elderly fled into and up the bottom of the dry stream bed. The soldiers followed, shooting at them as they struggled through the sandy earth. At a point several hundred yards above the village, the women and children frantically excavated pits and trenches along either side of the streambed to protect themselves. Some adult men attempted to hold back the Army with whatever weapons they had managed to retrieve from the camp, and at several places along Sand Creek the soldiers shot the people from opposite banks and brought forward the howitzers to blast them from their improvised defenses. Over the course of eight hours the troops killed around 200 Cheyenne and Arapaho people composed mostly of women, children, and the elderly. During the afternoon and following day, the soldiers wandered over the field committing atrocities on the dead before departing the scene on December 1 to resume campaigning.
Since the barbarism of November 29, the Sand Creek Massacre maintains its station as one of the most emotionally charged and controversial events in American history, a tragedy reflective of its time and place. The background of the Sand Creek Massacre lay in a whirlwind of events and issues registered by the ongoing Civil War in the East and West; the overreactions by whites on the frontier to the 1862-63 Dakota uprising in Minnesota and its aftermath; the status of the various bands of Southern Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians relative to each other as well as other plains tribes; the constant undercurrent of threatened Confederate incursions; and the existing state of politics in Colorado including the intrigues of individual politicians in that territory. Perhaps most important, the seeds of the Sand Creek Massacre lay in the presence of two historically discordant cultures within a geographical area that both coveted for disparate reasons, an avoidable situation that resulted in tragedy.”
This music and these events don’t just exist in a vacuum. Many of these topics still are being dealt with today. From the debate over the Washington Redskins team name (http://cnn.it/1vtPsZQ) (also, read the comment section to see more) to History Colorado’s (the Colorado Historical Society) dealing with the upcoming remembrance of the Sand Creek Massacre (http://bit.ly/1kivPyK) or to all of the many events happening in and around the Native American community (http://bit.ly/1sLRAYA) there is a lot going on right now. I don’t claim to be an expert on all of the inner workings of what is happening now, or what has happened in the past. I have however been deeply affected by what I have learned and how it informs my own life. Through my research and through this music, I hope to share a part of my dealings with these subjects with as many people as I can. I also know that this is just the beginning of a lifelong search for more knowledge and understanding.
I am very grateful to Spacebomb Studios for allowing us to record in their great studio and specifically to Trey Pollard, Matthew E. White, Pinson Chanselle, Cameron Ralston and the rest of the Spacebomb family for helping me to realize this recording. I look forward to sharing this music with as many people as possible and as soon as possible. Most importantly, I can not thank the guys in the band (Cameron Ralston, Bob Miller and Jason Scott) enough for being so giving of their time over the past few years….and also to everyone along the way for all of your support. THANK YOU!!