Sto:lo recording artist Inez Jasper is calling it “ironic” that someone complained to police about the “noise” of traditional drumming coming from the Skowkale reserve late Friday afternoon.
They were shooting a music video for Inez’s new song, Dancin’ on the Run, about the survival of First Nations culture in the wake of the Potlatch ban of 1884.
“It’s an example of how slowly things change but it’s also great that we can still dance and sing our songs,” she told the Progress on Monday. “Our culture has survived despite some harsh discrimination from Canada.”
The song, Dancin’ on the Run, is off her new album set to be released later this summer. Part of it tells the story of those who actively helped keep the cultural traditions alive despite the potlatch ban enforced by the local “Indian agent” at the time, continuing until the 1950s.
“There were people who served jail time, or had to run from the Indian agent so they wouldn’t be caught practising their culture,” said Jasper. “Stories are coming out about the intricate network of messengers, and runners who ensured we were not incriminated for being our selves.”
Wenona Victor called the music video experience “amazing.”
She had given Inez and her crew permission to film on location at her home on Chilliwack River Road and returned home from work on Friday to find a semi trailer parked in her driveway, and everyone preparing.
“I’m so proud of Inez and all she has accomplished with her music career,” said Victor.
She can’t figure out why anyone would complain about drumming on reserve, and found it ridiculous that a police car was parked nearby to survey the scene.
“It was so obviously a beautiful and empowering event,” she said.
The complaint may have come from nearby residents living on some leased properties behind the Skowkale reserve.
But it is surely evidence of a “culture gap” going on.
“I can’t help but think it was a stereotyped reaction. I mean who calls the police on their neighbours?” she said. “I could see if it was something dangerous going on.”
Victor said she was sad that the neighbours didn’t feel comfortable enough to come see what was being celebrated.
“I just think if someone is going to live in our territory, that they would take the time to find out more about who we are as a people, especially about the drum.”
Inez added it was late afternoon on a Friday, not the middle of the night, and there was no applicable noise bylaw being contravened since it was held on reserve.
“It was a positive cultural event, with children and families everywhere,” she said. “I found it funny. It’s also ironic because part of the whole purpose of my album is to raise awareness, and to let people know who we are and what our songs are all about.”
After releasing her solo album, “Singsoulgirl” in 2008, Inez took home best album cover, best new artist, best pop album and single of the year for Breathe (featuring Magic Touch) at the 2009 Aboriginal People’s Choice Awards in Winnipeg. She was also nominated for a Juno and a Western Canadian Music Award.
More at http://www.inezjasper.com/