“The Covered Wagon” is a 1923 silent film. BCM and the Boulder Symphony are collaborating on a new soundtrack that retells the stereotypical cowboys and Indians movie with a tribal perspective featuring the Northern Arapaho Eagle Drum and Singers.
Boulder Community Media (BCM) had great success in 2022 and wants to keep it up through 2023. BCM was awarded a highly competitive $10,000 National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) grant for “The Arapaho Covered Wagon Redux,” four years in the making.
BCM is seeking matching funds to record a contemporary soundtrack for the 1923 epic “Covered Wagon” silent film. The original score compiled by Anne Guzzo will be performed by the Boulder Symphony led by Devin Hughes in remembrance of the 160th anniversary of the Sand Creek Massacre. Most of the funds will pay musicians and the Northern Arapaho Eagle Drum. For information, watch the trailer.
When “The Covered Wagon” screened, tribal members appeared before the audience while casting directors Ed Farlow and Tim McCoy provided information about why they hired 500 Native Americans, mostly Northern Arapaho to perform in the film. Ironically, the realism they wanted to purvey added to tribal stereotypes.
Your tax deductible contribution will make an impact by undoing old stereotypes whether you donate $5 or $500. Every little bit helps. Thank you for your support. We previously raised $500 for the project.
BCM is a 501c3 production company dedicated to make media in all their forms accessible to all.
If you’re a facebook user, BCM has a year-end fundraiser happening through the end of 2022.
The Wind River VR Pilot Project introduced virtual reality as a new medium to tell traditional Northern Arapaho stories in a more relevant way to tribal youth.
BCM collaborated with Makerspace 307 in Fort Washakie, Wyoming who recruited four tribal youth to participate.
VR trainer, Glenn Reese, worked with the students in basic camera operation.
Northern Arapaho artist Robert Martines talks about tribal tradition.
Northern Arapaho artist Robert Martinez discussed with the students the importance of passing tribal traditions to future generations.
Robert worked with the youth as they drew pictures illustrating an Arapaho folk tale, “The Fox and the Wood Tick,” as told by tribal elder Merle Haas.
Alison Sage is a singer member of the Northern Arapaho Eagle Society. He explained how tribal stories and experiences are preserved through song and drumming and worked with the students with expressing themselves through music.
The Wyoming Arts Council funded Phase I
The crew then traveled to the nearby Arapaho Ranch to integrate flat art and original music with virtual reality.
A virtual reality camera was set up and students displayed their art work. An original music soundtrack was improvised on the grand piano in the ranch house.
Arapaho elder Gary Collins, BCM VR trainer Glenn Reese and Alan O’Hashi pose with Arapaho storyteller Merle Haas.
Merle Haas read The Fox and the Wood Tick in the Arapaho language. The virtual reality footage of the students with their art work was set to the Arapaho language narration and the student-composed music.
Over time, classrooms will be moving away from “learning” a subject to “feeling” the content through immersion.
To this end, the BVR Phase III project is underway. A third small grant was received from the city of Boulder Arts Commission.
A marker designates the Fort Chambers site.
That project adds virtual reality to telling the story of a Fort Chambers, which was constructed on the outskirts of Boulder.
The sod fort no longer stands, but was the training facility for the 3rd Volunteer Cavalry who killed Arapaho and Cheyenne tribal members at the infamous Sand Creek Massacre.
The BAC funded the Phase III Fort Chambers VR project.
Students will be creating a virtual Fort Chambers that the viewer and walk through, to the narration of Arapaho tribal members who recount the stories told of the massacre by their ancestors.
The BVR is an engagement tool that in Phase III will teach students the use of a software called Tilt Brush and a program called Unity which will allow a student to explore, experience or be involved as if they are actually present in that environment or place.
A Boulder, CO shaker and mover named David Nichols in 1864 recruited 100 local volunteer militiamen to train at Fort Chambers located just east of town to kill Indians at Sand Creek.
Flash forward to 2018 when the city of Boulder government purchased the fort location as open space and a group of citizens called Right Relationship Boulder (RRB) is working to repatriate that land, in some form, back to the Arapaho people.
This is a story about a chapter in Boulder’s cultural history told from the perspectives of the Arapaho people. Arapaho cultural traditions are oral ones.
Documenting Arapaho voices preserves tribal members’ Sand Creek Massacre experiences that have been orally passed down from generation-to-generation.
RRB is a group of Native and non-Native Boulder-area residents who work with local governments and organizations to help all residents learn about the Native peoples who lived here historically, and who live here today.
RRB is also the lead organizer of Boulder Indigenous People’s Day that happens in October.
The city of Boulder purchased the Chambers property east of Boulder.
The Chambers property includes a home and pasture land along Boulder Creek at Valmont and 61st east of town.
Stay tuned, for project updates. BCM is also seeking contributions of any amount towards the project to match the Boulder Arts Commission grant.
Contributors will be included in the movie credits.