Expressions of Red Power: A History of American Indian Rock 'n' Roll, 1960–Present
Kent Blansett, Assistant Professor of History and Native American Studies at the University of Nebraska, Omaha, and Katrin H. Lamon Resident Scholar, SAR
Colloquium, SAR Boardroom
Wednesday, April 2, 2014, 12:00–1:00 pm, Free
Every great political movement deserves an equally powerful soundtrack. From the 1960s to the present, American Indian musicians utilized sophisticated interpretations of Native Nationalism and Red Power to inform an international audience about indigenous rights. This colloquium will highlight the historic roots of American Indian Rock ‘n’ Roll and how Native musicians grappled with the larger political themes that emerged out of the Red Power movement. As agents of change, American Indian musicians actively confronted popular stereotypes and helped to define the ideology of Red Power. Musicians from the soulful Buffy Sainte-Marie (Cree) to the gritty contemporary blues/rock of “Indigenous” (Dakota) continue to challenge audiences across aisles. Ultimately, American Indian Rock ‘n’ Roll challenges global understandings about race, gender, class, identity, culture, and nationalism. Blansett's presentation represents a chapter from his second book manuscript which is tentatively titled, American Indian Pop Culture and Red Power, 1945-Present.