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Indigenous Popular Materials & Resources



Welcome to the Native American Music tab!

Here you will find resources and materials on Native American music to assist in your research.

We have a Research Tools box with databases, articles and websites among other resources, a Spotify Playlists section with selected playlists you can play directly from your browser, selected music videos from a few Indigenous artists to check out, and a side panel section that features books on researching music and Native American/Indigenous music.

Music is a central element in Native American culture from the time before contact with Europeans to the modern era. From birth to death, music is part of each rite of passage, each celebration, each social event, and each moment of solemnity. Explorers and settlers from the 16th century to the 20th century wrote descriptions of Native American songs and dances, marking the frequency of musical activities, and noting that, often, a musical celebration would last an entire night. Journals also noted individuals respected within a specific tribe as outstanding singers or dancers, often expressing surprise that warriors and leaders such as Geronimo, Sitting Bull, and Quanah Parker were as famed within their own culture as musicians and creators of songs as much as they were for their leadership in war.

Bruno Nettl, Victoria Lindsay Levine, Bryan Burton, & Gertrude Prokosch Kurath. (2013). Native American music. In New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. Oxford University Press.


Experience native culture at powwow March 11

Research Tools

Key Terms

A user can find relevant articles with key search terms. A combination of the following will yield appropriate responses: “Native American” “Native” “Indigenous” “American Indian” or specific tribe names such as “Ojibwe” “Pequot” or others, and “music” "music theory" "musicianship" "musicology" "musical performance" or specific genres of music such as "rap" "powwow" and others. 

Boolean Operators

In addition to using keywords listed in the box above, Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT) will assist you with finding sources.

AND: will return results containing both words entered in the search (Native American AND literature)

OR: will return results with either search term used; can be helpful when searching for synonyms or related terms (Native OR Indigenous)

Quotation marks will search the exact term ("Native American literature")

Parenthesis will help improve a search by allowing for multiple search filters: (Native American OR Indigenous OR American Indian) AND Comics

Truncation will widen a search with a wildcard symbol (*), so any variation of the root will be gathered (music* will return music, musical, musicology, musician etc.)

Contact the liaison librarian to the Native American and Indigenous Studies program, Adriana Casarez ( for research help.

Spotify Playlists

This playlist features Native American Music Award winning Drum Groups, created by NAMA LIVE.

NAMA created this playlist, featuring tribal hip hop.

This is the Halluci Nation features all the essential songs for this Canadian electronic music group who blend instrumental hip hop, reggae, moombahton and dubstep-influenced dance music with elements of First Nations music, particularly vocal chanting and drumming.

This playlist features music from the documentary, Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World. Check out our Film section to learn more about this documentary.

Native American flute music is highlighted in this playlist, Dreamcatcher.

Pow Wow Radio created their own Spotify playlist of Pow Wow Genre music.

Created by the Native American Music Awards, this playlist highlights recordings of Best Blues Music winners at NAMA.

Music Videos

"Buffy Sainte-Marie, CC is an Indigenous Canadian-American singer-songwriter, musician, Oscar-winning composer, visual artist, educator, pacifist, and social activist. Throughout her career in all of these areas, her work has focused on issues facing Indigenous peoples of the Americas."

"Martha Redbone is an American blues and soul singer of part Choctaw, European and African-American descent. She has won awards for her contemporary Native American music. Her music is a mix of rhythm and blues, and soul music influences, fused with elements of traditional Native American music."

"Pura Fé (Tuscarora), is an Indigenous singer-songwriter-musician, story teller, instructor, seamstress, artist and reviver of Canoe song/dance and woman's drum."

"Timothy Archambault is a Native American flutist, architect, and composer."

"Joanne Lynn Shenandoah was a Native American singer, composer, and multi-instrumentalist based in the United States. She was a citizen of the Oneida Indian Nation, Wolf clan, based in New York."

Johnny Curtis (San Carlos Apache Tribe) was a gospel musician and pastor at the Fort McDowell Miracle Church of All Nations. His music spans several decades, making him the predominate gospel music icon throughout the Native North America and First Nations Indians of Canada.


Thank You & Credits

Thank you to the Okanagan College Library's LibGuide on Indigenous Studies, featuring a section on Indigenous Music. You can find their LibGuide, which features additional resources, here

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 Generic License.