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Off The Record




May 16, 2018

Sitting Bull Comes To Canada

Sitting Bull (Tatanka Iyotake in the Lakota language, meaning literally “Buffalo Bull Who Sits Down”), Hunkpapa Lakota Sioux chief (born in 1831; died 15 December 1890 at Standing Rock, South Dakota). Sitting Bull led the Dakota (Sioux) resistance against US incursion into traditional territory. After the most famous battle at Little Big Horn, in which General George Custer’s forces were completely annihilated, Sitting Bull left the United States for the Cypress Hills in Saskatchewan. Sitting Bull symbolized the conflict between settlers and Indigenous culture over lifestyles, land and resources.

Early Life
As a youth, Sitting Bull was trained as a warrior and medicine man. He lived in a time when traditional ways of life for Indigenous peoples on the Plains were increasingly challenged by the influx of white settlers (see Indigenous People: Plains). Sitting Bull eventually rose to prominence as a leader of the resistance against American expansion into Dakota territory in the late 1860s.
The Great Sioux War of 1876
With the discovery of gold in the Black Hills of what is now South Dakota, American prospectors and settlers flocked to the area, encroaching on traditional Sioux lands and increasing tensions (see Indigenous Territory). The lands were legally those of the Sioux, having been guaranteed in an 1868 treaty, but the military was unwilling to evict the thousands of settlers who saw the right to mine the gold of the Black Hills as God-given. When the Sioux and the Cheyenne under Sitting Bull began to resist this encroachment with force, both sides prepared for war — a conflict later known as the Great Sioux War or the Black Hills War.
Battle at Little Bighorn

On 25 June 1876, at Little Bighorn, in what is now the state of Montana, Sitting Bull’s forces killed American Lieutenant-Colonel George Armstrong Custer and 262 of his men, including 209 under his direct command. Now facing the full might of the United States army, Sitting Bull tried to negotiate peace, but the Americans’ terms —to surrender their guns and horses and move to reserves —had not changed. After rejecting the offer, many Sioux began crossing the border into Canada, near Wood Mountain, SK (then part of the North-West Territories).

Sitting Bull in Canada

Walsh, James Morrow
As inspector in the North-West Mounted Police, he dealt fairly with Sitting Bull and his followers (courtesy Royal Canadian Mounted Police).
The following spring, in 1877, Sitting Bull joined what had become a group of about 5,000 at Wood Mountain. North-West Mounted Police Inspector James Morrow Walsh met with Sitting Bull and assured him protection from the US army in exchange for peaceful compliance of Canadian law. The two men established a friendship built on mutual respect and admiration. However, the Canadian government, fearful that the chief’s presence would incite intertribal warfare and eager to clear the Prairies for white settlement (see Numbered Treaties), refused Sitting Bull’s request for a reserve for his people. Using starvation as a tool for subjugation, official government policy directed that Indigenous peoples of the Prairies could be moved wherever best suited the interests of the government. Knowing a future in Canada was unlikely, Walsh pressed Sitting Bull to surrender.
The Canadian government’s approach was compounded by a limited food supply in the area. American hunters and traders had set fires along the border to prevent buffalo from migrating north, effectively cutting off the primary food source for Sitting Bull and his people. The Canadian government stood firm in refusing both a reserve and food, and gradually the Sioux began returning to the United States to accept American promises of rations. Among the last to surrender to the threat of starvation was the old chief, who was finally settled at Standing Rock Reserve in North Dakota in 1881.

Life and Death at Standing Rock Reserve

For a few months in 1885, Sitting Bull toured with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, but returned to Standing Rock as a leader of his people. He advocated strongly against the US government for the non-surrender of traditional lands. He encouraged the Crow, his former enemies, to oppose allotments for a reserve in 1886. In October 1888, Sitting Bull went to Washington as a member of the Standing Rock delegation. Amid the growing popularity of the divine Ghost Dance movement, which foretold the return of the buffalo and the extinction of white people, American authorities ordered his arrest in December 1890. While executing the warrant, reserve police provoked several of the Sioux residents and in the ensuing gunfight, Sitting Bull was killed along with 13 others.

Sitting Bull was and remains an icon of Indigenous resistance in North America. The circumstances surrounding his tense time in Canada provide a telling example of late 19th century aims to rid the Prairie provinces of Indigenous life, culture and influence.

Source - The Canadian Encyclopedia




Victoria, March 22, 2018

Jason Buie, a powerful electric guitar player and a mainstay of the Vancouver Island music community, lived and breathed the blues for nearly 40 years. The music came to a stop Thursday morning when Buie died suddenly at his Esquimalt home.
He was 47. No cause of death has been revealed.


Our Very Own Blues Brothers

Rodney Dranfield/the late Jason Buie


Rod you remember the first time you met Jason?

Yes it was at a jam in White Rock on a Saturday night in 2006. I was introduced to him and played some harp on a Blues tune he played. You could see and hear how accomplished he was on guitar.

How long after you met him did the two of you decide to form the White Rock Blues Society?

In the spring of 2007 Jason needed a place to stay after breaking up with his girlfriend. He was with us for a couple of weeks. During that time the subject came up about a visit I made to Montreal in February. Angel Forrest had introduced me to Brian Slack who was the President of the Montreal Blues Society. Up to that point I had not been aware of the existence of a world wide network of music societies dedicated to the preservation of the Blues. Jason had heard of them some time before. It was Jason who said we should look into starting one here. So I called a number of people involved with Blues Societies both in Canada and Washington State to gain an understanding of how to launch one here.

How many shows have you presented over the years? It may be unfair but are there a couple of the shows that rise slightly above the other shows?

We have been involved with over 125 shows most were held at the Pacific Inn. The most ambitious shows were the International Blues Challenge events where we have acts competing to represent the White Rock Blues Society in Memphis each year.

Just about every BC Blues performer has played on our stage with a few notable exceptions and all of them put on great performances. Never once did we have a clunker.

One stands out big time. This past New Years Eve when Jason and his band performed to a sellout crowd of Blues fans. He was on fire that night. The dance floor was packed all night. He sold a pile of cds and a good time was had by all.


This past year Jason was nominated for Maple Blues Award in the “New Artist” category. You traveled with Jason to Toronto for the awards show. Could you recap that trip for our readers?

Jason asked me to join him for the trip to the Maple Blues Awards show in Toronto last December. I wasn’t initially planning to go this year because I didn’t think he would be able to get away. Now I have to be honest, I didn’t think he would win the award because he hasn’t played back east for years and isn’t well known outside the musician community. You never know how these award/recognition efforts are going to turn out. My real reason for going was to be with him if he wasn’t selected.
We had a great time meeting many musicians and having interesting conversations.
The Toronto Blues Society puts on a very professional Awards Show. Very entertaining and exciting to watch. Jason was asked to present an award during the first half of the show to non other than Colin James.

When the announcement was made that he won, Best New Artist of the year we jumped from our seats and he gave me a great big bear hug.

It was such a joyous sight to see him take the stage under a big screen with his name and picture prominently displayed.

When he got to the podium he asked for the lights in the theatre to be turned up so he could see the crowd. Then he turned to Al Lerman who was part of the Maple Blues Award All Star Band asking him to take a picture for his Grammy. The response from the audience was electric. He was suddenly the talk of the town. After the show hundreds of music lovers stayed in the lobby to hear award winners jamming on the stage that was setup.

When Jason got on the stage after about a half hour the crowd moved up close to see him play. Everyone seemed to have a smart phone in their hands recording or video tapping him shredding his guitar.All the CDs he had brought to the event for the merchandise table were sold that night.

After the evening entertainment ended we headed out to an all night dinner, Fran’s at 20 College Street which has been a favourite musician hangout for decades. We met up with a crowd of people who were also at the event. Most were musicians and Jason chatted with all of them.

Jason recently released his third CD titled “Driftin’ Heart” do you have a couple of favourite songs on the CD?

They are all very good. Right out of the gate he delivers ‘Right From The Start’ with a driving pace. His rendition of Sue Foley’s song ‘ Driftin’ Heart’ from her 1993 album ‘ Without a Warning’, was inspiration for the album. He had a long conversation with Sue in the green room the night he received his Maple Blues Award and gave her a copy of his CD. Lots of mutual admiration.

Jason & Sue Foley

Driftin' Heart
I’ve got a Driftin’ heart
I go from town to town
I ramble when the sun goes down.


‘Westcoast Daddy’ is a jiving rock tribute to a father on the road.

‘12 O’Clock Checkout’
Is a tail about life on the road.

The album was listed as one of the top five self produced cds of the year by the International Blues Challenge run by the Blues Foundation. Submissions are made by artists from around the world. An interesting note is that another Canadian was also in the top five. Coming in first overall was JW Jones. Another nod to the talent Canadians bring to the table.


In addition to Jason handling the MC and performing duties for the White Rock Blues shows he also gave back time and time again to our community and to his original home on Vancouver Island. For the past couple of years Jason would gather together musical friends and host a TOY JAM at the Crescent Beach Legion. Having spent so much time with Jason I am sure you have seen other random acts of kindness.

He has helped other musicians on many occasions. In his roll as a show producer he has reached out to guys and gals he deemed in need of encouragement and some coin. He was a major contributor to the annual success of the Esquimalt Rib Fest as the music producer. He started up a Christmas Toy Jam in Victoria. He played the downtown Vancouver Blues For Christmas food bank fundraiser every year.

And of course JASON was a d riving force behind the Blues For Christmas which the White Rock Blues Society hosted every December. Over the 11 years of operation our annual fundraiser collected tons of food and thousands of dollars for the local branch of SOURCES.

I have been in discussions with you and Kelly Breaks @ Blue Frog studios and we are planning a local celebration of the music and the man. Have you heard of any other events being planned for the west coast?

A lot of musician friends are planning an event in either the last week of April or first week in May. Sunday afternoon through to 9:00 PM will allow the greatest participation by not conflicting with musician tour dates.
Ted Tosoff and Steve Sainas have stepped up to help with the scheduling. We are planning to have Jason’s brother Chris represent the family.
Details to follow.

Jason’s passing has left a huge hole in our hearts and in our musical community Rod. How will you remember Jason?

He liked to party with people and celebrated life every day. He had a burning passion to play guitar from an early age. When on stage he traveled to another place and the music came through effortlessly to him. It was as if he was being used as a conduit from some greater universal power source.
During his last recorded performance he left the stage with his guitar on a wireless connection to his amp and played to members of the audience up close and personal. At one point he jumped on a chair at let loose with a wicked array of guitar moves that wowed the crowd.
The next morning when he came downstairs he was limping badly and asked for my help. I ended up pulling out a small piece of glass from his foot.
I asked how the heck did he play all night with glass in his foot? He said that things like that don’t register when he performs.

"He was the guy who rambled when the sun went down.
Glass or no glass.

A special thank you to Rodney Dranfield the co-founder of the White Rock Blues Society for taking the time to shae his memories of the man, the father, the friend and one hell of a guitarist and performer. He will be missed by one and all.

Stay tuned to the White Rock Sun/Blue Frog studio and the WRBS for an announcement for a special evening to be hosted at Blue Frog for all of Jason's local friends and musical family.

It will be one hell of a night.

David Chesney

Editor/Publisher White Rock Sun


Listen to JASON'S Driftin Heart CD in its entirety (click here)









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