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May 14, 2020

Black Belt Eagle Scout

Black Belt Eagle Scout

From Powwows To Punk

As a young indigenous artist growing up in Northwest Washington, Katherine Paul was drawn to the noise of grunge and Bikini Kill's punk. But the rhythms of an idyllic life on her Coast Salish reservation, punctuated by her family's All My Relations gatherings—an annual powwow which coincided with birthday parties celebrated in the local gymnasium—are deeply-rooted in her being. These unique and varied inspirations would later inform the way she would make music under the Black Belt Eagle Scout moniker.

I was struck by how incredibly brave KP is. Everywhere on the internet where her work is praised, there are folks waiting to take her down. But she persists. As a radio producer, you are told never to relinquish your mic to the interviewee. But on one of the final questions, KP gently but firmly wrestles the mic out of my hand to answer the question. When I asked her later about it, she had no recollection of doing it—such is the strength of her conviction. See if you can guess at what point this happened?

Many thanks for making this episode possible—KP for her grace and time. Her parents: Patricia Paul and Kevin Paul for use of powwow music. Bikini Kill for every Riot Grrrl's anthem, Phil Elverum for the use of music by Geneviève Castrée's as WOELV. Saddle Creek, Pitch Perfect PR and Terrordbird for all the support.

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