For the first months of the year we'll be sharing the opening talks from each of the four conversations that took place at 2021's Voluminous Arts Halloquium; A Trans and Queer led conference on nightlife. Each member of the curation committee, composed of Aveda Adara, Axmed Maxamed, Gavilán Rayna Russom and Ting Ding, introduced one of the conversations with a brief but in depth talk about the theme that formed its topic. For our final talk in the series, Indigenous artist, DJ and producer Aveda Adara brings attention to the relationships between nightlife events and the Indigenous lands they take place on.
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There was so much emphasis on preparing for what was to come in the next few days and sometimes weeks in preparing for night songs and night dances. Nightlife for me did not just begin as a kid who would play my collection of unpaid Columbia House CDs while diving into the back of magazines like Rolling Stone that had written reviews of huge parties in large cities like Los Angeles or Chicago.
Most of this was unattainable for socially deprived and impoverished kids on the rez (reservation) like me. So, I used these means of capitalized media to open my eyes to what the rest of the world got to experience. But, little did I realize, that I was part of a bigger picture of the life that belongs to the night.
In the biggest cities around the world, late-night parties would begin. Repetitive drum beats on the dancefloor, illegal substances, and all-night dancing. In my part of the world, the late-night music would begin at sunset and end at dawn. The repetitive drums from the night singers in the teepees, and the ingested medicine for visionary quests for the indigenous peoples.
Our medicine is known as peyote, it is what we had to fight this American Government to keep as our tradition. Nightlife for me has always been here, it was just in the form of culture and tradition. The traditions of honoring our land, and thanking the creator for what it has brought us were normally done in the solace of the night.
But before this all began, the preparing of the land would begin. I remember once how the dirt inside the teepee was lined up, wet with water, and carved out before the night meeting would start. So much respect for the land and trees and animals is considered.
As people who fight for land and water rights, the Government(s) in the Americas can be rather harsh when it comes to standing up for the earth we live on. The Dakota Access Pipeline is a prime example of how the government will fight for its profits v/s its sustainability. This can be comparable to how Nightlife has become corporate in profit over safety, for the land and people.
Corporate party promoters like Insomniac who run EDC, Goldenvoice who run Coachella, and Burning Man have become so big they’ve moved onto lands of wildlife and become destructive. Leaving the land uninhabitable for the plants and wildlife that thrived there. which takes time for the system to start replenishing itself. A report from Waste 360, accounts for Coachella producing 107 tons of trash per day, with only 20% of it being recycled.
An acknowledgment of where these events are hosted could give insight into how they treat the land. A small conversation is a start. Can you imagine if Coachella acknowledged Indio, California as a grounds where the Piute Indians among other tribes once inhabited? Recently, In a Facebook post, Burning Man acknowledged the Indigenous tribes that inhabited Northwestern Nevada, IN A FACEBOOK POST! Being consciously aware could prevent your attendees from leaving what may seem just like a desert, trashed with your litter and noise.
In my opening talks at the 2021 Halloquium, I mentioned land acknowledgment and texting a phone number, which will immediately respond with the land you occupy based on the zip code or address you text. Upon entering a club space or a festival, a notification could be erected on what tribe(s) occupy that territory. Before ticket sales, an acknowledgment of the land upon which you enter could pop up before a ticket sale is processed. But this is just wishful thinking of what could make our lives as party-goers and land protectors, better and sustainable.
In November of 2021, I recently attended a huge female lineup of DJs in Austin, Texas for the Seismic Festival. Part of the prohibited items listed on their website stated, NO HEADRESSES RESEMBLING NATIVE AMERICAN ATTIRE ALLOWED. Which made me feel comfortable knowing that I would not have that cringe moment seeing a half-naked Cherokee princess running in meretricious chicken feathers. I see changes coming but not at a progressive rate.
To find out what indigenous land you are currently inhabiting, text your address or location to the number 907-312-5085. Or, you can also visit, https://land.codeforanchorage.org/