...For the Generations, our musical history, present and future...


  • Music is EVERYWHERE!! Every activity has a song. In some communities every person has a song... families have songs, animals have songs, the Holy People give their songs to Nihokah Dine', the Earth Surface People, the five-fingered beings...
  • The Holy People love this Music... they come to the villages and dance with the People. They hear their Song being sung and come to the People's aid in sickness and strife.
  • The histories, cosmologies, values, relationships to the Holy People, and even prophecies, are chronicled in Song. We master the Vocal Arts and the need for written word is negligible due to our immersion in SONG as a way of remembering, and insuring a good future for our world. In some communities, the SongCarriers are seen as their greatest treasure, and the People care for them, bringing them food, showering them with respect and devotion.
  • The relationship between the human singing voice and the spiritual world is so strong, for instance, that the Navajo/Dine' word for Singer/Hataalii, is the same as that for Healer!


  • The elimination of Native music and ceremony identified as the key method to crushing the Native "savage" culture..
  • Full scale wars with the US end as peace treaties signed across North America.


  • Religious persecution of Native Music heightens, as these "savage and heathen" ways are persecuted. Practicing of Native Religious practices outlawed, participants jailed. The very country that hails it's founding on the concept of religious freedom, denies this right to the People of the Land. A longstanding psychic and spiritual split in the Mind of America occurs due to this historical contradiction. America never recovers from this psychosis, it endures to this day...
  • Traditional and Holy Songs go underground, sung only in the safety of the tribal villages. Ceremonies held in secret places in the mountains and hills to avoid being jailed for performing our Songs and Ceremonies.




  • Native men go to war alongside other Americans, to begin a tradition of being the most highly decorated population of the US citizenry. Upon their return, their deeds of valor are put to song, as the chiefs of old.
  • Nez Perce Band, an all-native band that toured the NW states playing Big Band music.


  • Native artists can be heard playing in the churches and with country western bands. Paving the way for the fusion of music to occur through the next decade.


  • Native Country western bands proliferate, such as; the Fenders, the Wingate Valley Boys, the Sundowners, Zuni Midnighters, and others. Mostly playing top hits of the day with a few of their own compositions.
  • Cree artist, Buffy Saint-Marie a college student, begins laying the groundwork to her place in Native music history through composing her own brand of protest and love songs. Sometimes folksy, at others, rockin' hard, with native vocables and lyrical content.
  • In the cities, native people find themselves together though from different tribes, begin to form communities around the Powwow Circle.
  • Older men and women begin to sing again, remembering the songs of their youth and lead the ways around the Powwow Circle.
  • Louis Ballard; native composer, begins to compose pieces built on Native melody and drums for symphony.
  • AM radio stations near reservations allow Native DJ's to host programs in order to increase the effectiveness of Border Town radio advertising. Native musicians can be heard, both traditional and contemporary for the first time on the radio.

70's!!; much of this decade was highlighted by a strong Native Pride movement, gaining momentum and capturing the hearts of the People through won treaty rights and bold activist activities by the American Indian Movement. The Elders go public and speak prophecies of a new Future where the Native People of the Earth will play a major future role due to the knowledge they have retained...

  • Native Youth begin to learn the Singing Traditions. Both in classes in public and tribal schools and in the home communities. It isn't just the elders who are singing anymore.
  • New youthful Songkeepers and Songcatchers are identified in the Native Communities and prepared for their role in the coming decades.
  • Native country solo artists come of age; Floyd Westerman, Buddy Redbow, begin composing songs of resistance and Native Pride, a big hit on the Fry Bread Hit Parade; "Custer Died for Your Sins!" by Westerman is destined to be a classic.
  • First and ONLY Native national number one hit!! "Come and Get Your Love" by Redbone can be heard across the land.
  • XIT takes Native Rock; rock incorporating strong Native philosophical and activist lyrics with native melodies to the World. XIT's, Niha Shil Hozho, I am Happy About You, one of the most beautiful Native Rock love songs ever written.
  • Native Folk artists begin to emerge, Paul Ortega, Sharon Burch, Joanne Shenandoah and refine their style.
  • Jim Pepper, native jazz musician gains a wide reputaion, both in the US and Europe with his musical ability and composition with native melody and lyrics. His song, Wichi-Tai-Tay is destined to be a classic.


  • Two men almost singlehandedly start a Native Flute restoration
    • Carlos Nakai records the Native Flute and begins strong musical collaborations with non-native artists
    • Kevin Locke studies the traditions of the woodland flute masters of the Mesquakie Nation and brings a resurgence of the traditional flute style.
    • Native men and women begin to revive this tradition
    • Non-natives begin to imitate our flute style, mass-produce our instruments commercially, using native sounding names and artwork on their releases.
  • The powwow singing tradition gains great leaps and bounds as young men and women take up the Singing Road.
  • Along with this is a renewed interest in the sacred songs of their communities, young people are seen and heard singing alongside the elders in the sweatlodge, Peyote ceremonies, sundances, kivas and plazas, the longhouses and smokehouses, and other ceremonial grounds all over North America.
  • Native community radio takes hold, local FM programming begins to broadcast strong Native Music programming, both traditional and contemporary music. Non-natives near these reservations, stumble across these stations and many enjoy what they hear and tune in often. Additionally, college FM stations and public radio pick up the pace and add programs that feature Native DJ's playing Native music.
  • Buffy Saint-Marie scores HUGE as her song, Up Where We Belong wins an Academy Award for the movie, An Officer and a Gentleman.
  • Native musicians gain respect in Europe; tours take them to fans over the Atlantic. Some find a temporary home there like the great jazz musicians needed to find respect for their music before the US realized it's treasure. They return home telling stories of the crowds and well-wishers, of those who want to experience our music.
  • Non-natives begin to purchase our music, accompanying a renewed interest in the spirtitual traditions of Native Peoples. First usually a flute release, something they can easily connect to, and then some go on to; deeper traditional styles, or become avid fans of contemporary Native artists and groups. The stage is set, the seeds have taken root, preparing the way for the long awaited respect due the Music and Voices of this Great Land... It has been 500 years and Native Music is still "foreign to the Western ear"??? How can it be that the very Music of the Land is foreign to the people who inhabit it? A change is coming.... it is approaching....
  • Native radio goes big-time with KTNN, the Voice of the Navajo Nation, broadcasting a 50,000 watt Class I clear channel, which can be heard from Southern California to Washington State! Programming includes traditional and contemporary Native music as well as live in-studio interviews and performances, and even live on-location broadcasts from such musical venues as the Gathering of Nations Powwow in Albuquerque, NM!! History is made...


  • Majority of powwow singers below 30 years old! The singing traditions have endured and flourished.
  • Native tradtitional music goes underground again in response to the New Agers who are inappropiately acquiring and using Native Sacred Songs.
  • Native American bands take Native Rock national!! Continuing the strong politico/activist lyrics and fusion of Native melody.
  • Inuk artist, Susan Aglukark's release, This Child on EMI/Canada, goes DOUBLE PLATINUM!!!
  • Mohican composer, Brent Michael-Davids work is heard at the Kennedy Center.
  • Burning Sky asked to play at the 1996 Clinton Inaugaural Ball.
  • Mainline radio, producers and TV continue to ignore Native Music.
  • Native Music still not studied in academia, native traditional and contemporary musicians ignored while America embraces the music of other continents.
  • Grassroots music festivals take a hands-on approach to the problem. All over the land Native people stage music festivals and create venues for our musicians.
  • One of the biggest Native music frauds ever produced becomes a MEGAHIT in Europe!!! Millions of copies of Sacred Spirits; Yeha Noha sold there. Millions are duped that this is a Native production. The Fearsome Brave, as he calls himself, Claus Zundel, rakes in the dough, the producer, arranger, composer of this ripoff of recorded Native archive music samples. Despite a US national push by Virgin Records, the release continues to do poorly in the US.
  • NATIVE MUSICIANS IGNORED by the INDIAN CASINOS!! Native musicians passed over and non-native acts booked consistently at these venues. Most casino marketing departments run by non-native persons who handle the bookings of acts, know very little if anything at all about Native Music... would rather book a sure "draw", than take part in helping bring our music into the fabric of American life. Native musicians feel disappointment and betrayal, wonder where and when will the EXPLOSION take place???
  • Native musicians labeled "hard to deal with" by the music industry... they refuse to write what the producers want. They hold to their ideals, traditions, to the honor of their ancestors and teachers, and to the control of their destinies, AGAIN! Turn down enticing record deals with major labels to produce a native version of "Gregorian Chants set to a dance tracks". As a result, the majority of "national" Native acts are found on courageous independent labels. While megastars like Curt Cobain blow out their brains leaving behind cryptic messages apologizing to their fans for selling out......
  • Rainbow Walker Music and other INTERNET Native Music sites take native music TO THE WORLD; exposing, educating, promoting, retailing....and the world responds!!! Orders for music come in from every continent. Links to the Rainbow Walker site can be found on pages around the globe, as fans of Native Music join in spreading the word about this wonderful music. Emails arrive telling how much they enjoyed the online experience that they sent the URL to all their friends, or to their online chat communities.
  • The world wants to hear and enjoy the music that endured and later flourished while Amerika played out it's attempts at destroying Native culture and it's 3rd world political/exploitation agenda...
  • Native musicians talk, plan, write, explore, remember, pray... they know they are on the verge of history... music has always been our soul... our futures were secured by our songs... they could not destroy these, for they were not written down... we carried them in our Ancient Minds... bringing them out again today and tomorrow... For the Generations...

This is only the beginning...

Please help me fill in this timeline. There is no such thing like this in existence today produced by Native Musicians about the history of our music... the majority of it is done by anthropologists and other academics.

email Arlie to suggest additions or comment.

This is meant to be a timeline, if you have specific detailed information that you would like to see about a particular musician or genre. Put it into html format and email it to me. If the content warrants inclusion, I will host it here with a hyperlink from my timeline...

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