“Indigeneity is not a monolith. There is not one way to be indigenous. It is utterly wrong to put us all under the same roof and be expected to somewhat magically get along, to interact and read each other’s minds.”
Columbian-Canadian artist Lido Pimienta’s poignant comments perfectly encapsulate one dimension of the complexity that stems from living in an increasingly globalized world. Often, artificial dichotomies and binaries are drawn: us and them. This phenomenon can not only stigmatize and create distance but can also idealize indigenous peoples and minorities as having a front that is much more unified than it actually is.
A Tribe Called Red Hit the Mark
A Tribe Called Red, with the help of Lido Pimienta, are trying to showcase a picture of indigenous peoples that is in touch with reality through their art and music in a modern and relatable way. A Tribe Called Red are a native electronic group from Canada who incorporate hip-hop and traditional powwow drums and chants into their electronic sound.
They use their music as a platform to showcase indigenous talent as well as introducing their audience to indigenous culture and experience. In their latest track, “The Light II,” they are featuring Pimienta, who they also asked to direct the video.
The video shows Pimienta being invited by a rich, Opus Dei, anti-abortion, Pope-fanatic family who “love and support the arts” to come and spend a week at their home for a “cultural exchange.” But when she arrives from Canada, they think she is another “Indian” helper and show her the servant’s quarters.
Pimienta comments on the video, “The people featured in the video are not actors, they are real Chilean artists, creatives and activists working in Santiago and elsewhere in Chile right now, in similar ways as ATCR in Canada. I set out to showcase how settler colonialism is in fact way more nuanced and complex by challenging these assumptions and preconceptions of how Indigenous people ought to be.”
The song and video live up to the group’s strong stance with its memorable beat and powerful message. You can get tickets for A Tribe Called Red’s international tour here and keep up with their Facebook here.