"I feel very honored to be a part of starting the music programs and I am humbled by the opportunity to help, thanks to our friends at DW Drums, Taylor Guitars, Sire Bass Guitars and Sweetwater Music who sent the instruments to the Reservation."
Pine Ridge, S.D. (PRWEB) September 23, 2015
Los Angeles based composer-guitarist Doug Bossi has teamed with American Indian non-profit, Blue Skies Foundation of De Pere, Wisconsin, to bring guitars, drums, keyboards, trumpets, DJ gear and other musical instruments to the Lakota children at Crazy Horse School in Wanblee and American Horse School in Allen on the Pine Ridge Reservation.
"Our children haven't seen a music program since 1983, and we have wanted to provide music for the kids but the funding was just not there,” said Tom Poor Bear, Vice President of the Oglala Sioux tribe.
Mr. Bossi, who has written music for many television shows and films, reached out to some of the top music instrument manufacturers to gather the instruments for the program. He said, “Music changed my life when I was about 13 years old and picked up a guitar for the first time. It opened doors for me that I would never have had access to. I believe in the power of music. I feel very honored to be a part of starting the music programs and I am humbled by the opportunity to help, thanks to our friends at DW Drums, Taylor Guitars, Sire Bass Guitars and Sweetwater Music who sent the instruments to the Reservation. Music is a spiritual journey for me…so for me, it is important to be able to give new music a chance to be created and heard on the reservation for the first spiritual people of this land.”
Dorothy Ninham, of Blue Skies Foundation, a former tribal judge in the Wisconsin Oneida nation, recently teamed with Human Rights Action Center of Washington, D.C. as part of a PSA campaign that included Bonnie Raitt, Peter Gabriel, Jackson Browne, Peter Coyote, Pamela Anderson & Carlos Santana among others.
Ms. Ninham said, “Taking education back is vitally important to us. We have wanted to have more control of what our children learn, or at least have input. Assimilation wouldn't be so bad if they allowed us to be who we are. There are two roads in life, but they shouldn't cut us off at the pass. We are working to keep our culture, our spirituality, and our language. Why music?”
She continues, “Music is natural to us as native people, we’ve always had songs, the drum that kept us in balance, the wind instruments, the rustle of the leaves with the wind, the ringing rocks, which is music. I met Doug Bossi and found him to be an energetic and gifted man with a big heart, and we are launching this first music program together. We hope to include music scholarships in the future. Many here are starving, and some children have to sleep with their coats on in the wintertime, and this also leads to a starvation of the spirit, a loss of hope. We are trying to help bring back that hope and opportunity to these children and we both believe that access to making music is a key to that.”
In addition to the musical instruments that were delivered, programs are currently being put in place at both schools to recruit local musicians to teach the students. Virtual programs will allow internationally known musicians and bands to Skype into the classrooms to teach from anywhere in the world.
Doug Bossi & Echo Circle
Los Angeles, CA
Blue Skies Foundation
De Pere, WI
Photos by Michael Maley