This work entitled Indian Territory serves as an acknowledgment to those Indigenous peoples whose land William and Mary College now reside. Grounded in the ancient history of this land through the vibration of sound, the performers are asked to recite the various nations that have and do live in the area today. They are the Cheroenhaka (Nottoway), Chickahominy, Eastern Chickahominy, Mattaponi, Monacan, Nansemond, Nottoway, Pamunkey, Patawomeck, Upper Mattaponi, and Rappahannock tribes and many students from those tribes studied at the Brafferton Indian School that was part of William and Mary College. This work not only serves as an important acknowledgment of tribal nations and the Indian school, but also honors their legacy.
Scored for string ensemble, the work begins with a flowing ostinato by the violas representing the perseverance and sustainability of Indian peoples while the use of col legno, battuto ricochet (bouncing the bow on the wood side of the stick) is used as an Indigenous sonic indicator of native rattles. Harmonics are incorporated as a solo moment reminding us to stop and listen to the ancestors. Soon before writing this piece, I dreamt part of the opening melody. Its proud strength is meant to welcome us all in acknowledging who came before us and the ancestors that remain with us.
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