May 5th is the National Day of Awareness for MMIWG2S (Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Spirit).
To honor the MMIWG2S Awareness and National Action Week and National Day of Awareness, God in Rehab is releasing our first original song, “Solemn,” available for purchase on Bandcamp, with all proceeds going to MMIWG2S Awareness.
Over 1,000 indigenous women and girls have been missing or murdered, largely due to domestic violence and sex trafficking. The murder rate of Native women is MORE THAN 10 times the national average, according to the Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women.
The average age of victims is 29 years old. Many of these cases have been overlooked and ignored by law enforcement and media. Learn more in my blog article, “MMIWG: No More Stolen Sisters.”
How the Song ‘Solemn’ Came About
As the founder of God in Rehab, this is Spookie Rolling’s passion project – in honor of his Indigenous ancestors and to those lost to MMIWG2S. His ancestry is Muscogee (Creek) Nation, tied to his grandfather, a farmer in Okemah, Oklahoma. The Muscogee Nation (Mvskoke) is a self-governed Native American tribe located in Okmulgee, Oklahoma.
“My grandpa was my everything,” Spookie says. “My link to our culture. He was full-blood Mvskoke and could speak our language. He passed away in 1986.”
Spookie has since been learning more about his family’s culture and studying the Native American spiritualism of the “Red Road.” He also plans to perform a traditional tribal pow wow dance known as “Southern Straight Dancing” this summer with his brother on tribal lands in honor of his people.
I have in turn also been learning more about Indigenous culture, thanks to Spookie. So after spending several weeks learning about MMIWG2S and offering my own perspective on the topic, I sent him my lyrics to “Solemn” and sang the idea for Spookie in person. I never expected him to tear up. The emotions conveyed in the song, finally bringing this personal concept for him to life, made us both weep, and we agreed it was time to hit the studio.
A few weeks later, I recorded vocals on Spookie’s music tracks, and our drummer, Matt Hosafros, added samples and sequencing to the track as well, filling out the intro and bridge. The song was mixed and mastered by sound engineer Sean Sheppard.
As a journalist by trade, I researched MMIWG2S and provided the statistics and historical analysis for this project. I also came up with the lyrics, vocal melodies, and recorded vocals for the song.
Spookie painted a portrait in remembrance of MMIWG, which is the cover art for the single, featuring a chrysanthemum flower, commonly used for mourning, and the ghostly image of a Native woman.
In addition, Matt created a music video tribute to the women and girls lost to MMIWG2S, which you can watch on YouTube (also embedded above). Special thanks to Kateri Daffron – Kiowa/Whiticha/Comanche, who is featured as the solo dancer in the music video (and shown above at the OU AISA 108th Annual Spring Pow Wow 2022, held in Oklahoma on April 23, 2022.)
Get the Music
BUY ‘SOLEMN’ ON BANDCAMP.
God In Rehab – “Solemn”:
Released on May 4, 2022...
Leslie Benson – lead vocals and lyrics
Spookie Rollings – guitars, keys, drums
Matt Hosafros – drums, sequencing, samples
Sean Sheppard (Scattered Hamlet) – mixing/mastering
Special thanks to Kateri Daffron – Kiowa/Whiticha/Comanche.
Also check out the live acoustic version of the song (below), featuring Spookie Rollings on guitar and Leslie Benson on vocals, recorded at Sad Ghost Studios, TN, on May 3, 2022.
God in Rehab – “Solemn” (Acoustic Version)
By Leslie I. Benson:
Erased, but not
I die a little more,
a little more each day
as your footprints
slowly fade away.
I died a little more,
a little more each day –
when your spirit
was carried away…”
Your spirit lingers;
casts a long shadow.
Nothing we sacrifice
will ever pay the price.
I hear my voice
howling in the wind!
What story will you tell
someday when we meet again?
Where did she go?
Only the pain
I carry your memory
on my back and on my tongue,
so one day you can find…
Find your way back home.
Where did she go?
Only the pain
Together, we can make a difference. Enough is enough. No more stolen sisters!
On May 5th, wear red and post to social media to raise awareness. Include the tags #NoMoreStolenSisters #MMIW #MMIWG #MMIWG2S #MMIWActionNow.
“Mvto!” (Thank you in the Mvskoke language).
- National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
- StrongHearts Native Helpline Chat: 1-844-7NATIVE (762-8483)