Artists Produce Music Videos With Grants From First Peoples Fund

It was a dream that first settled into Juliana Clifford's mind that led to the vivid and poignant scene in Scatter Their Own's newest music video.

Juliana, a lyricist, bass and acoustic guitar player for the band, makes up half of the South Dakota duo Scatter Their Own. Her husband, Scotti Clifford, is a singer/songwriter and guitar player in the band, which hails from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

The band has just come off a six-concert promotional tour in California, and recently released a music video for their "Taste the Time" song.

Scotti said he wrote the song to remind people to be aware of their environment.

"We can't drink from the streams, rivers or lakes anymore," he said. "It's been that way for 60 or 70 years. Those are the times we live in. We live in an unhealthy world."

The band was formed almost three years ago and, through a First Peoples Fund Artist in Business Leadership Fellowship, was able to purchase instruments and work on an album.

After Scotti wrote "Taste the Time," Juliana had a dream. In it, she was very thirsty and approached a table of people who offered her cups of water. When she drank, the liquid turned into oil and she had to spit it out.

"We were able to bring that dream to life with the music video," Scotti said.

The video was shot in August and was directed by Juliana and William White II.

"We shot it in three days," Scotti said, who also said it went smoothly because of the generous support of friends and family who came out to offer food and serve as extras in the video.

They are not the only ones feeling grateful for the local support—and the partnership with First Peoples Fund. Native hip hop artist Frank Waln recently released a music video for his song "AbOriginal." Waln, a 2012 Artist in Business Leadership Fellow, lives in Chicago where he attends Columbia College and writes and performs Lakota hip hop music.

Waln received a technical assistance grant through First Peoples Fund and hired director Eli Vasquez to work with him.

"It was a perfect fit," Waln said, as Vasquez is also an activist and interested in working on projects with a message. Vasquez was also onboard with the idea that the video, a five-minute "theatrical short story," should focus on the positive aspects of the reservation.

"I wanted to show the beauty of home—the side I see... the side we see," he said. "It's the side you don't see in mainstream media today."

The song is focused on Waln's experience moving from the reservation to the big city, a place where he felt isolated as he met so many people with incorrect stereotypes of Native Americans.

"It made me angry," he said.

But it didn't take long for him to realize that anger wasn't healthy.

"Love. Love for my music, love for people, love for family, love for my culture," he said, was the way to move on. "Being fueled by foolish things like anger can be very poisonous."

Waln's music video can be seen on YouTube here. It was also recently featured on "mtvU," a show Waln said he used to sit and watch.

"It's surreal," he said.

Scatter Their Own's new music video can also be found on YouTube here and their music is available on iTunes.