An act of Indigenous Futurism, Wampum / ᎠᏕᎳ ᏗᎦᎫᏗ is the electronic music project of Elisa Harkins. Singing in Cherokee, Mvskoke, and English languages, Harkins becomes a language guardian, fighting extinction whilst crafting a head-bouncing beat. Combining disco and phonological preservation, Harkins strives to decolonize expectations of how pop music should look and sound, while bringing Indigenous representation to the field. In Harkins’ cosmos, pressed vinyl and radio play become radical tools of language conservation and transmission.
This performance of Wampum / ᎠᏕᎳ ᏗᎦᎫᏗ refers to wampum belts and Indigenous peacekeeping, as well as the Cherokee use of wampum beads as currency. ᎠᏕᎳ ᏗᎦᎫᏗ, pronounced a-de-la di-ga-gu-di, can be translated to “money on a string.” The intention of this Wampum / ᎠᏕᎳ ᏗᎦᎫᏗ performance is to create a metaphorical peacekeeping agreement between the spectators of the piece, regardless of tribe or race.