Arlie's tips on buying authentic Native Music Product

Whether you buy here at Rainbow Walker, another site on the web, a music outlet, at a powwow, a gift shop, or direct from the artist/producer, here are some tips on what to look out for...

  1. Be very suspicious of a release that doesn't spell out the Tribe/Nation to which the artist(s) belong(s). All the production companies that release authentic product, make it regular practice to do this. Besides, our tribal background is an extreme source of pride for Native People and we like to list our heritage to show respect to the families, elders and communities that we represent.
  2. Any cover titles featuring; the word shaman or crystals are usually dead giveaways... Native communities do not call their spiritual elders, shaman. That word is just not used by us, each tribe has their own terms to describe their spiritual leaders, and shaman is not one of them. Also, we don't just display or talk about crystals, ad nauseum. This is pretty much a New Age Music identifier. New Age music is great, I like some of it. But, if you are looking for authentic Native product, the crystal stuff is a red flag. If Natives mention crystals, such as the Holy Beings of my Dine' people--Crystal Boy and Crystal Girl, it is only within their specific ceremonial context.

The following labels have built their reputation on producing authentic Native Music;

  • Canyon Records; Phoenix, Arizona
  • Indian House Records; Taos, New Mexico
  • Sound of America Records; Albuquerque, New Mexico--Native owned
  • High Star Productions; Taos, New Mexico--Native owned
  • Sweetgrass Records; Saskatoon, Saskatchewan CANADA--Native owned
  • Sunshine Records; Winnipeg, Manitoba CANADA
  • Makoche' Records; Bismark, ND
  • Indian Sounds, Oklahoma--Native owned
  • Turtle Island Music; --Native owned
  • First Nations Music; CANADA--Native owned
  • Wacipi Records; Long Plains, Manitoba CANADA--Native owned

Okay, thanks to the above producers for their untiring support of Native Musicians!! And also to the major labels that are willing to take chances releasing Native product, for example, Warner/Western--Bill Miller, EMI--Susan Aglukark, Sony Records--Kashtin. And to A&M/Horizon that released my group, the Songcatchers. You are part of the cutting edge!

Pida Maya,

Arlie Neskahi

Rainbow Walker Home Page