November is Native American Heritage Month, but unfortunately, indigenous people have been on the receiving end of cultural appropriation and crass stereotyping with Victoria's Secret being the latest offender. If that wasn't enough,Thanksgiving is coming up as well which has inspired tales of taverns and their woeful advertising of cultural mockery. Instead of perpetuating pendejadas, Heard Mentality would rather highlight and celebrate contemporary Native American musicians, especially in light of this heritage month. Grab a pair of headphones, blast your speakers, listen and learn about five bands and musicians who are rocking Turtle Island with their eclectic blend of talents from pow wow step to punk rock!
And for that...we have reason to give thanks, much thanks!
1. Blackfire - Overwhelming
For decades, Clayson, Jeneda and Klee Benally have banded together to offer up high energy indigenous punk rock with politically uncompromising lyrics. The power trio of siblings from the Navajo Nation were the first Native American band to play Vans Warped Tour and have taken their act across continents. In 2008, they released the double-disc Silence is a Weapon that would take home "Record of the Year" distinctions at the Native American Music Awards. While one disc featured righteous rock riffs delivered at blistering speeds, the other celebrated their traditional Diné music!
2. A Tribe Called Red - Red Skin Girl
Together, Bear Witness, DJ NDN, and DJ Shub form the indigenous collective A Tribe Called Red. Coming out of Ottawa, Canada, the beat makers call their blend of music "pow wow dub." The trio released a pulsating eleven-track self-titled debut album that interested listeners can still download for free. One of the most striking offerings is the protest song "Woodcarver" which recounts the officer-involved shooting that killed indigenous woodcarver John T. Williams in Seattle, Washington back in August 2010.