Native American Healing Music Update: The Role of Women

My research has led me to explore the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. I’ve listened to most of the available recorded music that they have from Folkway Festivals and ethnographer field work. While listening to this music and looking through field notes, I began to note a pattern in Native American Healing and Ceremonial Music. Much of the music that is available consists of male vocalists and instrumentalists. However, the more late the date of the recording, say the 1990’s versus the 1920’s, the more female vocalists are featured within the repertoire. After noticing this phenomenon I also happened upon an article published by the Smithsonian that focused on the ways in which women have been largely ignored over history in the recording and research of Native American Music. This concept is interesting to me, as I am someone who is quite supportive of women’s empowerment and advancement, so I want to follow this pattern of information and see where it takes me in regards to learning about how and why Native American women have gained more ground in music in the recent years.

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