Influence On American Indian Culture

1455 Words6 Pages
Through the existence of humanity, music has been a vessel that conveys emotion, history, tales, and identity. Music has given a voice to the masses, and has allowed those who are oppressed to disagree with their oppressors in an expressive, performing format for all of society to hear. When slaves couldn’t openly speak out against their treatment, they sang their ideas and thoughts. When African-Americans suffered decades after the end of slavery with their necks in nooses, they sang of their pain and suffering. When the working class was shipped overseas to die for a war they didn’t agree with, the counterculture movement responded with songs of protest. Today, our generation sings against corporate greed, which destroys our planet and…show more content…
For decades American Indians have performed music from outside their own culture (Troutman 43). However, American Indian blues have long been a way for American Indians to speak out about past and current oppression. Prevalent themes in American Indian Blues include historical events such as the Trail of Tears and The Battle of Little Bighorn, as well as modern themes such as crime on reservations, mistreatment by the American government, and the mistreatment of American Indian children in boarding schools. American Folk singers also sang out against the oppressive established upper class. Many folk singers specifically targeted music at the American industrial sector and at the American military. Oftentimes these songs promoted solidarity amongst the working class to band together against a system which oppressed the working class. For example, Theodore Bikel’s cover of Phil Ochs’ song “Power and Glory” has a verse which reads “Yet our land is still troubled by men who have to hate They twist away our freedom and they twist away our…show more content…
Throughout American history, the three genres of folk, blues, and norteño have led to a more collective experience of the oppression and inequality that exists in the United States. All three genres have brought listeners together in solidarity of the common issues of racism, war, corruption, and greed. Without a common cause and a common enemy, society would be bleak and bland. Oppression would receive no resistance - iconic periods in modern history such as the Harlem Renaissance and the counterculture “hippie” movement of the 60’s may not have carried as much impact towards America as they did. As an artistic medium, music allows the human race to make art out of sociopolitical events. Music gives a voice to the voiceless and is a powerful tool when used to fight inequality, violence, and corruption. Music cannot be given sole credit for stopping a corrupt government or ending inequality, but music gives humanity one thing that is necessary for survival. In music, the human race can find solidarity for a common cause, and against a common

More about Influence On American Indian Culture

Open Document