We love popular culture because it captures social sentiment at a unique point in time and brings individuals together from all over the world. That’s why we asked five of our scholarship recipients for song or film recommendations to share specifically with you.
This Native American Heritage Month, travel through time with us and share experiences with our Native scholars by exploring the songs and films special to them. As you listen to Anthem of the American Indian remember the moment Christen did. Or bond with Brittany by immersing yourself in the experiences of Sitting Bull and his people.
One of my favorite movies to watch is Dance Me Outside. It has humor, love, Native language, and death.
We Native people love to joke around and laugh. We love hard and we try to incorporate our Native language into our everyday life, even if it’s just a few words here and there. We also must deal with the deaths of murdered or missing people from our communities, bringing our communities closer together. We realize that we must be strong and look after one another.
I think it’s important for people to see our everyday experiences and struggles because not everyone knows we still exist, or they think we’re all drunks and can’t support ourselves. But I’m here to tell you it’s not true. Many people don’t go out of their way to see how others live, so we’ll do what we do best and tell stories about our way of life and hope we can catch a listening ear along the way.
This song is a beautiful homage to a special city and Samantha’s vocals are entrancing. You’ll hear this once and want to listen to it again and again. I’ve been her fan since 2008 and only afterwards did I find out she’s Choctaw!
This film is special to me because I believe it brings awareness and pays respect to the historical importance of my tribe’s chief, Sitting Bull. I like that it is a vivid and visual depiction of an important historical event that complements the traditional Lakota oral story representation.
The film is told from different perspectives. Even though it varies from my understanding of Sitting Bull’s death, I still enjoyed it because it accurately showcases the struggles and hardships many Native Americans were experiencing at that time.
Come and Get Your Love reminds me of being a little girl, cruising around town with my grandmother, with Redbone on the radio, in a borrowed one-seater old Chevy pick-up truck. Not a lot of people know Redbone is a Native band. In the 1970s Native rock bands were unheard of. Because this song was such a hit and the band was Native, it really made an impression on me.
My mother listened to “Anthem of the American Indian” so often, it felt more like a statement to me. I heard it so many times during my childhood I can still remember it very vividly. This song was made famous during the American Indian Movement (AIM), which was seen worldwide in highly publicized protests particularly within Native reservations and communities, shocking people around the U.S.
“Anthem of the American Indian” is almost five minutes long and was sung by the 1970s Native American group XIT. I remember the great harmony of Native American drums and the way my mother sang—it was extraordinary.
One verse has stood out to me until today, “I am who I am/ And who I said I was/ I am the image of myself/ I am Indian.” This verse speaks to me because it allows me to imagine what and who we are as Native Americans. I can still remember my mother singing this song and telling us stories about her days as an AIM activist.
We, as indigenous people, go through hardships and situations, but they aren’t permanent. The verse “Oh, great eagle king of the sky/ Lift our spirit up and carry us high/ Wings of strength that float along/ Take away the weak and make us strong” shows that we are strong through our beliefs. I am touched by the lyrics and this verse, when heard in the context of the song, shows we are as strong as the prayers that made us.