Raven Redbone | “Make No Bones About It”
For many of us, Thurston County has changed a lot in the last ten years. Just look at Lacey with it’s bustling Hawks Prairie area, Tumwater is expanding right before our eyes, and Olympia is the vibrant cultural hub many of us have known it to be, with the potential to become more than a half way point between Seattle and Portland in terms of music, art and culture in the Northwest. But I challenge you to imagine Thurston County 150 years ago, before Mt. T’swaq became Mount Tacoma and later Mount Rainer, when trees and marsh flourished around what is now the I-5 corridor, and Hawk’s Prairie was, well, a prairie. Underneath our homes, our occupy tents and great coffee shops – that old Thurston County, along with the the vibrant customs of indigenous peoples who inhabited this area, still remain. It’s alive in the oral traditions of the Nisqually and Squaxin tribes, it is carried in the thunderous drum beats of the Puyallup and Suquamish tribes, and on the airwaves with Olympia’s own Ranting Raven Redbone. Raven hosts the “Make No Bones About It” show Sundays from 4-6pm on 89.3 KAOS Radio.
This week’s show features features an interview with Pura Fe, the founding member of Ulali, an internationally renowned Native American woman’s acapella trio. Pura Fe is recognized for creating a new genre, bringing Native contemporary musicians and their contributions to the forefront of the mainstream music industry. Raven and Pura Fe banter like old friends as they discuss Pura Fe’s music, the new Native American voice in media, and the continuing struggle to live in both worlds while being true to their Native heritage. Raven reflects on air, “Music is healing. Native Peoples are contributing to different genres of music the same as everyone else. I feel like we’re living in a world without an indigenous voice, that is starting to change.” He takes a well deserved music break from his interview to play a few songs from Pura Fe’s new album along with other Native American music. I sit quietly and watch him work. He carefully selects tracks he knows will fit the theme of his show and the requests of his listeners and friends. From the KAOS vault he chooses “Crow Hop” by the Black Lodge Singers. I love this music! The drums maintain a tribal beat over some of the most unique choral arrangements I’ve ever heard. It is hard to listen and avoid being transported to the great plains of the Dakotas or a place within the imagination that contains wide open spaces, family, and ancestral reverence.
Watch Pura Fe Perform Live:
Raven Redbone is passionate about bringing awareness of Native issues to everyone and his show is his means of getting it done. “I would like to see all our human family come together, but its is important for those of us that are not the original peoples to know what truly happened here on the planet we call home. It is very important to get their voices out on the airwaves, and I am grateful that I can help make this happen at KAOS 89.3 FM”, Raven says. We talk at length about indigenous people all around the world and how, as Raven puts it, “With the indigenious view [of the world] we can begin to heal again – all of us”. I am truly grateful to Raven and the team at KAOS for allowing me to sit in on a “Make No Bones About It” show. Not only do I take away an increased interest and appreciation in the music and well-being of indigenous peoples all over the world, I now have another reason to love Living In Olympia.
This story is dedicated in honor of the men and women who opened their hearts and homes to the first settlers of the Northwest. The same men and women who fight daily to preserve a way of life that was almost erased from the Earth they love and defend.