Readers on this side of the pond may not be aware of this, but tomorrow marks the anniversary of Christopher Columbus's arrival in the Americas, which occurred on October 12, 1492. This event is celebrated as Columbus Day in the United States and as Día de la Raza in many countries in Latin America. You may not be surprised to learn that The Streetlamp is of the opinion that the European colonisation of the American continent, with its accompanying genocidal campaigns against Native Americans, is not something that should be glossed over by the spinning of falsely-positive Columbus myths and empty celebrations.
Therefore, to mark the event in a proper fashion we are pleased to bring to your attention the documentary film, The Canary Effect (trailer embedded below). This sensitive and thought-provoking film takes an in-depth look at the devastating effect that US government policies have had, and continue to have, on the indigenous people of America.
The film was written and edited by Robin Davey and he also co-directed, along with his partner Yellow Thunder Woman. Now, if those names seem familiar to you it may be that the duo are, of course, better known as the mainstays of the alternative pop act, and internet phenomenon, The Bastard Fairies (pictured).
The Bastard Fairies began when singer Yellow Thunder Woman (the English translation of her birth name, Wakinyan Zi Win), a member of the Yankton Sioux, met English guitarist Robin Davey in Minneapolis in 2003. Soon after, they began to create their own music because; "there wasn't any music out there that they liked listening too."
The duo, working on a shoestring budget, soon wrote recorded and produced their debut album,Memento Mori, which they immediately made available as a free internet download. This free 12-track pop gem soon began to spread via word of mouth and to this day remains a favourite of The Streetlamp's own Ray.
The duo continue to make music, and please do have a look at their site. However, in 2006, they branched out into documentary film making and made the grim but compelling and essential film The Canary Effect, which is free to watch on-line 'here' and 'here', and which I'm urging you to watch tonight. As you do so I hope you will remember that the oppression and degradation of other races and cultures under the justification of 'opening them up to the West's civilising influence' is an old, perverse and pervasive excuse that must not be allowed to stand unchallenged any longer