Northern Arapaho artist Christian Wallowing Bull takes Treefort by storm

The singer-songwriter discusses his deep passion for storytelling and the importance of contemporary Indigenous representation.
Christian Wallowing Bull performed live at the Hideout stage at Treefort 10 in Boise, Idaho, as part of the Wyoming Showcase. (Will Walkey/KHOL)

The 10th edition of the ever-growing Treefort Music Festival took place in Boise from March 23 to 27. KHOL Music Director Jack Catlin was there and had the chance to interview all of the artists from the festival’s Wyoming Showcase, presented by the Wyoming Arts Council.

This excerpt features solo acoustic singer-songwriter Christian Wallowing Bull, who is based in Dubois, Wyoming.  Wallowing Bull was the winner of the 2021 Wyoming Singer-Songwriter’s competition in Ten Sleep, Wyoming. As a Northern Arapaho tribal member, he often incorporates stories about the Indigenous peoples in his work.

The following interview was recorded on March 24 and has been edited for clarity and brevity. Listen above for KHOL’s full conversation with Christian Wallowing Bull.

JACK CATLIN/KHOL: So, as a member of the Northern Arapaho Tribe, it’s no secret you care deeply about Indigenous or native representation. It’s seemingly inherent in everything you do. Why is it important to have Indigenous representation in the contemporary music world, and where do you see it going in the future?

CHRISTIAN WALLOWING BULL: It’s extremely important simply because, as I look to my left and to my right, especially at a music festival as big as this one, there are so few Indigenous artists represented. For me, it’s about the visibility. I want to see other Indigenous artists coming up in every single category. Every sphere of society. It’s extremely important to me to be able to see Indigenous peoples across the board. Taking over mainstream media would be wonderful.

KHOL: So from what I’ve read, you’ve been through a lot, and music seems to be your salvation. You said ‘writing music has always been medicinal for me and has helped me get through very dark times. I will continue to write until the day that I die.’ Can you tell us more about the importance of persevering and continuing to create even when things may be falling apart around you?

CHRISTIAN WALLOWING BULL: Yeah, I think it’s a very much part of my identity, especially as a Native American and Indigenous person. How storytelling just runs deep in my ancestors and the blood of the Indigenous. It’s extremely important to me to be able to keep the craft as well as the heart in storytelling because it is truly medicinal for me, and I feel like it is a cure for so many things in my life. And it’s definitely giving me something to work towards, as well as being able to motivate. It’s helped me grab a platform like this and be able to motivate others as well.

This coverage is funded in part with an Arts For All grant provided by the Town of Jackson and Teton County.

 

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About Jack Catlin

Jack is KHOL's music director. He says all music is in some way connected no matter the style and his mission is to provide listeners with a unique and memorable experience each time they tune in to KHOL or see him DJ live.

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