Fred Walking Badger and Aaron Rivers are missing

Fred Walking Badger and Aaron Rivers are missing (1995)

with financial support of the Fonds voor de Scheppende Toonkunst
first performance: March 13-1996, de IJsbreker, Amsterdam
Charles van Tassel – speaking voice
Het Basho Ensemble
conductor: Jurrien Sligter

The monthly Smoke Signals, written by and for Americans of Red Indian descent, reports the mysterious disappearance of Fred Walking Badger and Aaron Rivers, two environmentalists. Their families fear a crime has been committed. In spite of anxious forebodings they don’t stop hoping for their return; just like the North-American Red Indians don’t stop hoping for the return of the past, against their better judgement, helpless. A nostalgia beyond hope.

The speaking voice (male or female) must be a musically trained voice: see the rhythmical difficulties on page 52 of the score.
Preferably the speaker remains invisible for the audience. The voice is amplified and audible through two loudspeakers on either side of the orchestra.

At the end of the piece (page 60 of the score) a slide of the newspaper picture of the press conference hold by the missing men’s families may be shown. The caption must be easily legible.
The picture is printed with these programme notes.


Native American Smoke Signals. July, August 1994, page 7, Sacaton, Arizona

A native man instrumental in establishing a pesticide ban on the Gila River Reservation and a friend were still missing late in July, two months after they mysteriously disappeared. An official
investigation apparently had turned up nothing, but a visit by a holy man from South Dakota offered some hope in locating the men.

A press conference statement said: It is extremely unusual for Mr Badger not to contact his wife and family advising them as to his whereabouts.

The family strongly feels that he and Mr Rivers have met with foul play and is extremely concerned as to his well being.

Although investigations had apparently found nothing substantial, a holy man from South Dakota who came to the area in mid-July may have offered some help.

A native man acquainted with him said the unidentified holy man had talked with the spirits of Walking Badger and Rivers and of a Pima elder who had also been missing from his home for a few days.

Later, the elder was found safe.

The holy man also said that he saw the spirits going up stone steps, which could be a cave, in an area with a lot of water.

However, the acquaintance of the holy man said it was unsure whether the spirits of the two missing men were lingering near their bodies.

A search of the area around Walking Badger’s home turned up a suspicious spot of blood on the ground. A Pontiac he was last seen driving was found burned on the reservation within a few days of when the two men disappeared. The investigators either could not link the evidence to their disappearance or did not want to discuss it.

(words taken from the American monthly Smoke Signals – July/August 1994 – written by and for Americans of Red Indian descent)