Black Belt Eagle Scout is the moniker for Portland-based multi-instrumentalist, Katherine Paul (KP). Taking the stage at Ace of Cups, the Indigenous queer musician opens her set acknowledging the Miami and Hopewell tribes that inhabited the territory where the city of Columbus stands today.
KP expresses the importance of bringing awareness to the rights that have been stripped from her people, introducing the theme for her song, You’re Me and I’m You. Her mother, Pat, was a victim of what is known as the 60’s scoop, where Indigenous children were taken from their tribes and adopted into a white families. KP’s describes Pat’s strength as she was taken from the Iñupiat people and forced into a white home, isolated from her culture. This song follows the theme of connection, and describes how even when coming out as queer, her mother displayed unconditional love, as the two are intertwined in each others lives through a maternal bond.
As an Indigenous woman in today’s political climate, KP expresses how deeply she feels connected to the earth. Her song, Indians Never Die, a delicate ballad dedicated to the natural world, may seem simple upon first listen, but the meaning behind her words calls out a social issue of colonization that tends to go unnoticed by people today. “It’s a pretty song. I just felt like I was sad for the earth, it felt like it was like being wasted, like all of the people who are here on this land, they’re wasting it.”
Take time to honor the strength of Indigenous people today by acknowledging Native territory, and broadening your awareness of the brutality against Native people by educating yourself on the violence against Native women.
For fans of Mazzy Star, Jay Som, SASAMI, and other female-instrumentalists revolving around the indie-rock genre.