Animal Collective Change Old Album Title And EP Artwork Citing Racial Insensitivity

Animal Collective are putting their entire discography on Bandcamp tonight to coincide with the site’s latest revenue share waiving day. They sent out a newsletter shortly before that happens addressing some imminent changes to their discography, as Pitchfork points out.

Their 2003 album, which was previously called Here Comes The Indian, will now be called Ark. “With utmost respect to Indigenous people we feel that having the word Indian in our record title sends the wrong message by objectifying the American Indian people which is not what we were intending with the music,” they wrote in the newsletter. From now on, they say they will be donating a portion of the royalties from the album to Seeding Sovereignty.

They’re also changing the artwork for their 2006 People EP. “There is no way to excuse using a ‘mammy’ on our artwork, and so we have decided to remove it,” the band wrote. “We understand now that using a racist stereotype at all causes more damage than an explanation can repair, and we apologize.” They also say they’ll donate a portion of the royalties from the EP to the Equal Justice Initiative.

They also addressed their 2017 Meeting Of The Waters EP, which features samples of the Tatuyo tribe in Brazil. When it was released as part of Record Store Day, they donated a portion of the proceeds to IDESAM. “As we were guests in their world, we feel it is only right to continue to show our gratitude,” they wrote. “Moving forward we will be donating a portion of our royalties from this record to Cultural Survival.”

In addition to all of this, Animal Collective also announced that they would be releasing a new EP tonight called Bridge To Quiet. All of their proceeds from Bandcamp sales tomorrow will go to Cultural Survival, the Equal Justice Initiative, Seeding Sovereignty, Southerners on New Ground (SONG), and the Okra Project, and the band are also making a $10,000 donation that will be split between those five groups.

Here’s their full newsletter:

Hello! We hope this finds you well out there! There’s been a lot simmering for us over the last few months. Our quarantining (some alone and some with our families) has made for some challenging but rewarding ways in which we have found to be creative. We’ve got some things to share tomorrow and wanted to let y’all know what’s happening first.

Tomorrow, we are releasing a new EP called Bridge to Quiet. During April and May, we took a look at some of our improvisations from 2019 and early 2020. We remixed them, collaged them, and built them into songs, finding our way to Bridge to Quiet. We hope you enjoy it! It was a fun and cathartic process, which has actually pushed us to start a new project in the same fashion.

Along with Bridge to Quiet, a large majority of our catalogue will be available on our new Bandcamp page as of tomorrow, Friday 7/3. All of our LPs will be there, as well as some deep cuts which haven’t been available digitally until now. However, with preparing our back catalogue for release, there are a few things we felt important to address and correct.

The first is the cover art for our People EP. There is no way to excuse using a “mammy” on our artwork, and so we have decided to remove it. We understand now that using a racist stereotype at all causes more damage than an explanation can repair, and we apologize. Moving forward, we will be donating a portion of our royalties from this record to the Equal Justice Initiative.

The second is our Meeting of the Waters EP. Brian and Dave recorded samples of the Tatuyo tribe in Brazil playing music for the Viceland program “Earthworks,” which were later incorporated into Meeting of the Waters. When we released MOTW on Record Store Day we arranged for portions of those sales to go to IDESAM. As we were guests in their world, we feel it is only right to continue to show our gratitude. Moving forward we will be donating a portion of our royalties from this record to Cultural Survival.

Finally, we have to address our LP Here Comes the Indian. With utmost respect to Indigenous people we feel that having the word Indian in our record title sends the wrong message by objectifying the American Indian people which is not what we were intending with the music. Because we have drawn countless inspiration from Indigenous people in America and around the world, moving forward, we will be donating a portion of our royalties from this record to Seeding Sovereignty, and changing the title to its original working title, Ark.

These changes will take effect in the coming days across all platforms.
So tomorrow, in the sprit of gratitude and support of the Black Lives Matter movement we will be splitting a donation of $10,000, along with all of the sales from our Bandcamp on 7/3, to the following organizations:

Cultural Survival
Equal Justice Initiative
Seeding Sovereignty
Southerners on New Ground (SONG)
The Okra Project

Thanks to everyone reading this for making all of this possible. The actions we are taking today are not the end of our commitment to address these issues. It’s our desire to stay engaged in the issues that surround us and we will continue to find ways we can engage and support.

Animal Collective