When you listen to Black Belt Eagle Scout, it is easy to become lost in the lush guitar tones and the vocals that seem to rise as though Katherine Paul is constantly on the cusp of lifting off the earth. This remains true of her track “Indians Never Die” from her 2018 release Mother of My Children.
Black Belt Eagle Scout is the moniker of Katherine Paul — also known as KP — and is an endeavour she describes as coming from the same place as her identity as a “radical indigenous queer feminist”. Her art and her life intertwine, and the results are efficacious, even during trying times. Mother of My Children was written in the aftermath of personal losses for the artist: the passing of her mentor Geneviève Castrée and the shifting of important relationships in her life. “Indians Never Die” is both melancholy and significant. It’s a call to pay attention to our surroundings or risk losing connection to the earth we live with. Drifting with the guitar riff and anchored by Paul’s periodic vocals, the track settles in and lingers.
The clip was filmed on the ancestral lands of the Chinook, Chinnuk Wawa, and Tillamook tribes during the winter, when the West Coast fog is thick and the ocean crashes. The timing adds fuel to the tension within the song, but throughout, Katherine Paul is experiencing the land openly, whether by sitting in still contemplation, dancing in a blend of traditional and contemporary clothing, or playing her guitar in the red glow of her amp light.
“Indians Never Die” is a call to pay attention as well as a meditation. It’s a world of depth in simple tones, and marks Black Belt Eagle Scout as an artist to pay attention to. To hear more from Black Belt Eagle Scout, you can find her on her website, Facebook page, and BandCamp. You can also follow her on Twitter.