Kevin Tarrant: A Native American Songcatcher Discusses Standing Rock, Thanksgiving & Intertribal Drumming
Host Maggi Van Dorn (left) with Kevin Tarrant
This time on "Interfaith Matters," host Maggi Van Dorn talks with Kevin Tarrant, of the Hopi and Ho-Chunk Native American tribes. Kevin is the former executive director of American Indian Community House here in New York City, and the founder of Silvercloud Singers, an inter-tribal dance and drumming group. In Native American culture, Kevin's ministry is that of a "songcatcher," which serves as a rejuvenating force for the entire community. Kevin is also Musical Director of a play in performance right now on the Lower East Side called "Don't Feed the Indians: A Divine Comedy Pageant."
On Native Americans in NYC: "According to the latest census, there are 112,000 Native Americans in New York City. It is the largest urban population of Native people in America."
On being a Song-catcher: "It’s a gift...there’s a tree of life and every time the leaf falls, that’s a song. And every time that leaf comes down and hits the ground the song is no longer there. But some people are attuned to catch that song and I’m lucky enough to be one of those people.”
On the healing role of the drum: “A part of knowing this knowledge and being one of these song-carriers and dancers is you do these things for those that can’t. And you do these things to make yourself feel good and make others feel good.”
On the Standing Rock protest to protect the environment: "Everybody is realizing that there’s going to be nothing for our grandchildren, our great grandchildren. What are we leaving them? You’re destroying every bit of nature there is."
Kevin and his wife, the director Murielle Borst-Tarrant, are currently presenting a play called "Don't Feed the Indians: A Divine Comedy Pageant," a comedic Native-Aesthetic look at the marginalization of Indigenous Peoples and the appropriation of Indigenous cultural and intellectual property. The play is being performed now through November 19 at La Mamma, on East 4th Street.
This episode of Interfaith Matters is underwritten by One Spirit Learning Alliance – an interfaith learning institute that trains spiritual leaders and offers workshops for the public to spark personal transformation. More information is at Onespiritinterfaith.org/Matters, where our listeners can find a free download of one of their teachings, “The Life We Are Called to Live.”
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