Autumn Chacon, Fish Water, Eugene Yazzie

Battle at Fort Lotaburger (2017)

sound installation, radio broadcast

Opening: Friday, November 13, 2017 5pm to 7pm, on view through November 27th

Artists: Autumn Chacon, Fish Water, Eugene Yazzie

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The first two songs heard are from our Oceti Sakowin singers in the dome, the last night we were able to come together and sing– some of us were sick, all of us were tired, but the singing healed us. The first song is a prayer song from the Sioux (Lakota/Dakota/Nakota). The second was one of the loudest we played there with all the energy and spirit from our singers—in the end you can hear Nate Phillips say, “do that again”, this helps start the next track where our same singers (including Nate) sang their last song together on the frontline.

The audio on the third track is from the day the camp was initially scheduled to be raided (Feb 22, 2017) where the Morton County Police officers told campers and journalists (on-assignment) that regardless of whether they were there on assignment or not, that they could be arrested. Audio from journalist Jen Byers. Multiple journalists were arrested on this day. Our presence in camp was seen as federally illegal for months, starting Dec. 5, 2016.

The fourth track is from the frontline on the night of Jan. 18, 2017, a song called “War Cry” by the group Northern Cree. On this particular night, multiple people were arrested and injured including Marcus Mitchell (Diné), the track ends with audio from when the police and soldiers charged on Water Protectors for the fifth time; they fired rubber bullets and tear gas consecutively until the Water Protectors were pushed the other side of the 1806 bridge. This lasted about 20-30 minutes, then everyone reset back to the same frontline for the nth hour in subzero temperatures.

The final track is sung by one of the best people we had the chance to meet, performed just after New Years. In the background you can hear people from our camp talking and laughing, as well as the children. This captured much of what our nights were like in camp; sharing songs, singing/praying, and being one as a family.

–text by Autumn Chacon, Fish Water and Eugene Yazzie

Thanks to: Helga and Jose Garza, Liz McKenzie, Andrea Quijada, Scott Williams, and Lorenzo Chacon.

Made possible in part by the Fulcrum Fund, a grant program of 516 ARTS in partnership with The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.