lifeblood: songs: backgrounds: bury my heart at wounded knee

1995-08-07: newport folk fest shows it's plugged in to times, the boston globe:

the indigos, who played newport for the first time with a band, are about to take a yearlong break, but they went out on a rousing note with buffy sainte-marie's "bury my heart at wounded knee," added after a recent tour of native american reservations. such politics again linked the new newport with the old, cementing one tradition that hasn't changed.


1995-11-16: chat session, america on line:

question: re: bury my heart.. have you spent time with buffy st. marie? what is she like, and what does she think of your version?

emily: we've never met buffy st. marie. we invited her to do a show at the end of the "honor the earth" tour, but she had other commitments. i love her voice. i find her spirit extremely intense, and i don't know what she thinks of our version. but for me, it was one of the most satisfying experiences for both live and in the studio. both amy and i would love to meet her, and i feel sure that we will.


1995-10-27: indigo and on fire, the tulane hullabaloo

interestingly, the indigo girls have included a basement recording of "back together again," which was one of the first songs they ever played together. according to ray, "emily saliers wrote this song after she had been away at tulane university . . . i went to visit her in new orleans and she taught me this song. that weekend we played it for tips in jackson square." they have also included a new release, written by buffy sainte-marie, called "bury my heart at wounded knee." this song has been donated by the indigo girls to honor the earth campaign and provide ongoing support to native american communities working to protect their land and culture. they chose to include the studio version on the cd in hopes that it would get radio air play so that the single's sale proceeds can go to the seventh generation fund.


1995-11-30: bury my heart at wounded knee: new single from the album 1200 curfews by the indigo girls, news from indian country:

'bury my heart at wounded knee' is the new single from the epic recording duo indigo girls (amy ray and emily saliers). the song previews the indigo girls new live album, 1200 curfews.

'bury my heart at wounded knee' is a unique rock-n-roll incarnation of the buffy st. marie classic, but it maintains all the heart and relevancy of the original. proceeds from the single will benefit the honor the earth campaign, a campaign designed to raise money and awareness for front-line native environmental groups.

the honor the earth campaign is an ongoing effort to continue work initiated by the may, 1995 indigo girls honor the earth tour. the 21-stop tour, sponsored by the seventh generation fund and the indigenous women's network, provided financial and political resources to grassroots native groups working to protect their culture and land base from environmental threats.

the indigo girls visited wounded knee on the pine ridge reservation as part of the honor the earth tour, and the visit impacted them so strongly that they decided to perform 'bury my heart at wounded knee' at every stop after their visit.

the new album includes both a studio version of the song and a live recording from their honor the earth tour performance in anchorage, alaska.

"the message of the song is a timely and enduring one that cries out for people to recognize the devastating impact of corporate policy on native peoples," said winona laduke, chair of the indigenous women's network, which is sponsoring the honor the earth campaign with the seventh generation fund.

"i'm hoping the song will reinvigorate public consciousness about native peoples ongoing struggle to protect mother earth and sustain our culture, and through the honor the earth campaign provide impetus to our struggles by raising money."


both of these incidents took place at wounded knee, on the pine ridge reservation in south dakota. in 1995, the indigo girls (emily saliers and amy ray) visited wounded knee during their 21-show "honor the earth" tour, and their new single is a studio version of buffy saint marie's "bury my heart at wounded knee."

saliers and ray performed this song on the tour, which was designed to raise money and awareness for several grassroots organizations that fight to regain lands and rights for native americans. to learn about the organizations supported by the indigo girls on their "honor the earth" tour, see below. 1200 curfews is the name of the 27-track, double disc, live album soon to be released by the indigo girls.

during my recent conversation with emily, we talked at great length about her and amy's love of the native american ways, and she told me that never before has she been so concerned with radio airplay of a single, but as she says, "it's so important to get 'bury my heart at wounded knee' out - not just because it's a great song, but also because of the message behind it."


1996-01-05: indigo girls give $200,000 to native american causes, the atlanta journal constitution:

the indigo girls, decatur's amy ray and emily saliers, once again have put their money where their music is by donating $200,000 to 41 native american environmental groups. ray and saliers, whose folk-pop music includes several songs with an environmental and historical conscience, raised the money last year with their "honor the earth tour," a 21-stop affair that included visits to reservation communities in alaska, arizona, minnesota and south dakota.

"we won't tour again until '97, but we're going to do this for as long as we tour," ray said wednesday. "we want to go to different areas next time and we're thinking about south america."

the tour and the awarding of grants were done with he0p from the indigenous women's network and the seventh generation fund to build political allies and raise financial resources for indian environmental issues and groups. grants averaging $5,000 were made to organizations concerned with the defense of homelands and ecosystems, the protection of sacred sites, the restoration and building of sustainable communities, women's projects and media.

ray said that musicians who would like to be involved in the ongoing campaign include bonnie raitt, exene cervenka, luka bloom, victoria williams and toad the wet sprocket. in addition to giving proceeds from sales of their single "bury my heart at wounded knee" to the honor the earth campaign, ray and saliers plan to schedule several fund-raising concerts and release a benefit compilation album next august. "this is important because it's not just about money," ray said, adding that she and saliers hope the project also raises awareness of "the sacredness of life."


1996-09-21: indigo girls enlighten and delight sellout crowd at northrop, the minneapolis st. paul star-tribune:

the night, however, belonged to the indigos. the sweet-voiced, earnest duo of amy ray and emily saliers played some new songs and some old ones during an hourlong set. there was saliers' new bluegrassy love song and ray's new "don't give that girl a gun." and "it's all right," during which she sang, "you hate me because i'm different, you hate me because i'm gay," which brought laughter and applause. but it was the old singalong favorites, "least complicated" and "galileo" that ignited this crowd during the long evening. the finale was a rousing, 17-person jam (featuring all the evening's performers) on the rockin' "bury my heart at wounded knee."


1996-12-19: the indigo girls, the progressive:

q: when i listen to your album 1,200 curfews, which includes live recordings from concerts over the years, it seems like your music has become harder, more raw, more angst-ridden maybe. why is that?

ray: you can look at our music and see that we've become more assertive. it's also confidence and better song-writing. our images are cleaner and more specific. and when your images become more specific, they become more graphic. they're not diluted. so they seem more aggressive.

saliers: it's also who we're being influenced by musically at the time. sometimes i get tired of playing acoustic guitar. there's a freedom in rocking out. when we did buffy sainte-marie's "bury my heart at wounded knee," i loved playing that song. that's politics and rock and roll, the marriage.

ray: we also came across artists on these tours who influenced our writing. i listen to rage against the machine all the time now. maybe they've influenced my willingness to be more direct.


1997-01-31: up where we belong; a conversation with buffy sainte-marie, news from indian country:

ek: you have had good fortune with having your work in the mainstream. do you think it is important for native artists, musicians, writers to have their work out in the mainstream?

bsm: well, guess it depends on what you want. a lot of my work i don't want in the mainstream. i have had many occasions and opportunities to take my cloths off in hollywood and be the indian of the week, but certain things appeal to you and others, don't. the great body of my work has never been seen and in many cases i don't feel i have matured enough myself, and usually i am right about that. i only want to put out quality work.

i worked on "bury my heart at wounded knee" for years because i knew that i wanted to say something that was very important to me and to other people and wanted it to be just right. i wanted it to be rock and roll, and i wanted it to hold your attention, and i wanted the music to be very simple. the words and ideas are giving you only one chance to charm an audience into listening to that kind of material, because they don't want to hear it. they skip over that part of the newspaper, that kind of book.

they are not around people who are in a position to tell them about what happened to the american indian movement or what the gold and uranium rush have in common when it comes to the impoverishment of native people. and the intimidation and brutality that is involved in the attack on indian people. most audiences think you're crazy.

like coincidence and likely stories, which has wounded knee on it, well, it didn't get u.s. distribution. it was a lot for america to take.


2010-07-25: indigo girls serious about helping wnku, the cincinnati enquirer:

as if it's not enough trouble to choose which of their own songs to play, saliers and ray have recorded a number of outstanding cover songs, including bob dylan's "tangled up in blue" and neil young's "down by the river" on "1200 curfews."

"the ones we do are simply songs that we like," saliers says. " 'bury my heart at wounded knee' (from 'curfews') is the buffy st. marie song, and she sang it with such passion that it's important to us.

"we also enjoy doing covers with other people. on the new record, brandi carlile plays on (dylan's) 'don't think twice' and michelle malone plays on (the rolling stones') 'wild horses," and the crowd will join in because they know the songs."


2014-11-03: ar.1995, official indigo girls "a year a month blog" on tumblr:

one of the songs we learned while venturing into native activism was "bury my heart at wounded knee"-a tour de force by buffy sainte-marie that takes on some of the wrongs perpetrated against indian country throughout the history of america. after witnessing these issues first hand the song was a powerful anthem that we could pour every bit of our energy into. we had been recording a lot of our shows while on tour, and this song was one that we captured for our live release, 1200 curfews. we filmed a music video for it in the old warehouse and manufacturing district in northwest atlanta. epic records footed the bill. i loved how we were starting to use our major label resources to expose some of the most brutal and repressive history of america. it seemed like the least we could do now that we were reaping the benefits of a corporate world that had been established on the backs of so many. this conflict would continue to be a rub for me, but obviously i was enjoying the spoils with the rest of america, and needed to recognize the complexities of the indigo girls having a major label deal.

the record 1200 curfews was a lot of hours in the making. it documented the live shows during this era, the musicians we played with, the venues we loved and the audiences that never failed to show up and sing with us. separately, emily and i listened to countless live board tapes and multi-track recordings, picking what resonated with each of us, and then comparing notes. david leonard took on the monumental task of mixing this project, drawn from so any different sources, and gave it a musical thread that we still feel represents what our musical leanings were at the time.

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