This historic and highly celebrated event will commemorate and honor a growing music movement being lead by the country's First Americans.”

— Italian Voice

The Music Industry's Largest and Only Membership Based Organization for the advancement of Native American Music Initiatives & Expressions Around The World



“To me this is just a sign of the times, a sign of the acceptance of Native music out in the world like never before.
And this is just the beginning.” 
Robbie Robertson 
“We’re Still Here. We’ve Survived All This.” 
R. Carlos Nakai 
“I am here again because I was very moved last year.” 
John Densmore, The Doors 
“This is truly heart medicine” 
John Trudell 
“This is more important to me than being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame."
Rickey Medlocke (Blackfoot/Lynyrd Skynyrd) 
“I just know Jim and my husband are just Tooty Fruity Stomp Dancing up in heaven because of this award.” 
Floy Pepper (Mother of the late Jim Pepper)



We celebrate our survival through music and dance. With the increasing popularity of today’s Native American music, The Native American Music Association is helping Native societies transform as our music provides a continuing capacity for community renewal and cultural enrichment.

#NAMA #NativeAmericanMusicAssociation

#20years #Nativemusic #NativeMusicAwards



The Native American Music Awards & Association (N.A.M.A.) celebrates the rich cultural heritage of our nation’s first people and promotes cultural preservation and renewal on a national level through new music initiatives. We aim to raise the awareness level and appreciation of Native American culture to the public at large, both nationally and internationally.

Our logo is a satellite picture of all of North America and the tip of South America, therefore we honor Native American artists from those territories. - The Native American Music Awards logo features a music note with an Eagle Feather as the cleff and Mother Earth's Turtle Island as the base of the note surrounded by the four directions.


N.A.M.A. began in 1998 as a grass roots initiative among music industry professionals and record labels and others to prove that there was a viable music industry. Members from those companies, their artists, various communities and tribal radio stations and media personnel served as our first Advisory Board membership. We launched our Awards show with their endorsements and 56 annual recordings.
Today we receive over 200 national recordings each year.

As the first of its kind, our awards ceremony was modeled from other local and national music awards shows. In fact we created the first written proposal for the Native category in the Grammys* and were invited to do so by its Vice President.  Our awards honors and pays tribute to Native American authored music which can range various genres. Native American, American Indian and Canadian Aboriginal music is the original roots music of the  North Americas. Originally a traditional music which was an integral part of Native American life and tribal identity, Native American music has grown to encompass many contemporary genres such as; rock, pop, blues, hip hop, country, and new age as well as have created some unique genres that remain distinctly indigenous such as; Waila or Chicken scratch, and Native American church music.  All the music, whether lyrically or by genre, distinctively retains its cultural identity and offers cultural renewal. 

We are a music industry organization first and foremost and an all-volunteer organization. Our national and international membership and media coverage allows us to maintain a high level of credibility as a professional music industry organization.

Without NAMA there would be no recognition of Native American music initiatives on a national and professional level. The artists and their record companies enter their music recordings to receive greater exposure and awareness. We continue to break new ground with an ever expanding international audience.

This show was inspired by the Black Elk prophecy and a band from the Rosebud Reservation called 7th Generation. Its founder, Ellen Bello, was a mainstream music industry executive with over 20 years of experience and one who was previously involved with the MTV Music Video Awards, New York Music Awards, SPIN Magazine and more. Before NAMA was launched, it was merely an inside wish whispered on the reservation, became a vision, and then a realized dream. It embraced and required the support of music industry peers and Native community members who all gave it its blessings and approval and remain involved to date.


· Each year the annual Awards program features over one dozen mesmerizing and dynamic performances by some of today’s leading Native American artists along with 30 awards presentations including; Lifetime Achievement and Hall of Fame.
· The Awards show is an extraordinary and unprecedented celebration of today’s best contemporary and traditional music.
· The Awards program is an innovative, visually advanced production using prerecorded music of the nominees, voice over, live presentations and performances, and large screen imaging. This critically acclaimed Music Awards show and its high production values have been featured in Billboard Magazine, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Associated Press, NY Times, Boston Globe, and CNN.


· The highly anticipated annual awards show program debuted in 1998 at Foxwoods in Connecticut and drew its first audience of 1500 people in the Northeast. It has since been held throughout the country in cities such as; Albuquerque, Milwaukee, Ft Lauderdale, and Buffalo and has drawn its largest audiences in the Southwest and most recently in the Northeast
· Based on ticket sales, an estimated 43 % of our audience travels from all across the country to attend our shows.
- The first annual awards show featured 56 national recordings with a mission and obligation to showcase and bring music from the reservations to larger audiences. Today, over 200 national recordings are submitted each year.


· The Awards show honors national recordings by Native American artists that have been released in the previous calendar year. Nominees are submitted and selected by our national Advisory membership consisting of individuals directly involved in recording, manufacturing, distributing and promoting Native American music nationally.
· Winners are selected by a combined vote by our national Advisory membership and the general public who can listen and vote to the tracks of our nominees on our website Native American Music Awards Inc.
- Our Annual Awards show event involves over 200 plus artists who submit recordings for nomination consideration.
- Over one million people from around the world will participate in our national voting ballot campaign by visiting our website where, both membership and the general public will listen to music tracks of our featured artists in over 30 categories and vote on their favorites.

Today, we are the World's Leading Resource for Contemporary and Traditional Native American Music Initiatives consisting of over 20,000 registered voting members and professionals in the  field of Native American music. We hold the largest Native American Music Library in the World with a national archive featuring a collection of over 10,000 audio and video recordings in all formats housed since 1990.

The Annual Native American Music Awards continues to proudly honor the outstanding musical achievements of Native American artists from across the country in over 30 Awards categories. Since our inception in 1998, NAMA continues to honor our songmakers, foster pride, provide national exposure and celebrate their gift of music with others around the world. 

It has been our personal and volunteer contributions, not to mention, our determination and dedication, that continually creates this magical evening of pride and musical excellence. 

None of this would be possible if not for our tireless volunteer staff, our national membership 
and the support of our sponsors. To all of you, we thank you.


*By request of the Grammys, we also assisted in the creation of a Native music Grammy category in 2000 (see Report below) which has now been merged with a Regional Roots music category. 

January 2000


Ellen Bello, President & Executive Producer

Kae Kotarski, PA, Talent Coordinator

Sharyn Fogelman, Talent Coordinator

Andy Anderson, Video Director

Robin Comey, Teleprompter, Assistant to Directors

Ed Koban Band, House Band, Assistant Music Director

Kim Acosta, Red Carpet Director, Photographer

Leon Thompson, PA

Cody Blackbird, Segment Producer

Keelynn Kelly, PA, Assistant to Director

Ilene Miklos, Travel & Accommodations Coordinator

Billie Artichoker, PA, Merchandise

Cassandra Artichoker, Award Presenter, PA

Shallon Bordeaux, Awards, PA

Butch Artichoker, PA, Consultant

Rosemary Fernandez Armstrong, PA

Mike Mietlicki, Photographer

Donald Kelly, Executive Director

Joseph Bello, Music Director

Robert Bello, Stage Manager



“I would like to thank NAMA for putting on a great show this year. The performances were amazing, and the stage, lights and sound were outstanding. We watched as the NAMA and Seneca staff busted their backs to put everything together. The NAMMYS brings honor to native people everywhere. And hope to our children by providing an credible outlet for role models and recognition of native talent. Please accept my gratitude for the honor of Artist of the Year for my rock flute CD ‘The Looking Wolf Project’. Congratulations to all of the entrants, nominees, and winners this year. The Unity shared by all has deeply touched many hearts and provided inspiration for our next project which will reach out to native youth drug prevention programs through a new rock CD and music video.

Truly NAMA’s voice rings clear – WE ARE ALL RELATED!”
Jan Michael Looking Wolf
2009 Artist of the Year
Native American Music Awards

Chi miigwech for the opportunity and honor of participating in and being selected the "best traditional recording" in this years' Nammys. We were thrilled and humbled to have been chosen. Thank you so very much! Please let me know if there is anything we can do or need to do for the organization. It's our first award of such distinction. But we are very appreciative.
Chi Miigwech, miinwaa!
Lyz Jaakola & Oshkii Giizhik Singers

The midnite express singers would like to thank all our relatives friends and powwow families for all their support. Also special thanks to Bear Traks for making this album possible. It has taken a lot of hard work and dedication to be where were at today and we could not have done it without the guidence of our elders and teachers. We dedicate this award to the remembrance of our late brothers jerry dearly jr and randy tawawino.
Aho migwitch
Midnite Express

I want to pass along my thanks and congratulations to you and your staff for
a successful NAMA weekend. It was an honor to be involved and Shane was
thrilled to win an award.
Best Regards,
Louis O'Reilly
Manager for Shane Yellowbird

I was able to speak with Mario a couple hours ago and Sam late yesterday, regarding their trip to Niagara Falls for the NAMA event. Mario, Irma, Sam, Harry and Mike want to thank you for honoring Ritchie for HOF induction and allowing Mario's band to participate in this historic event. Irma was having such a great time at the show, she grabbed a nearby mike and sang, "La Bamba" as Backyard Blues Band jammed on stage. Mario, Irma, Sam, Harry and Mike said that NAMA organization is a class act and the event was spectacular. My regret was not being able to attend, due to business matters here in LA. The band and Irma would also like to thank Rosemary for her hospitality, friendship and were pleasantly surprised when she greeted everyone at the airport. We all agree that we have a new friend in you Ellen and are hopeful to be part of NAMA, down the road.
Our Best,
Brian J. Arra, Agent
Black River Entertainment

Thanks again for a memorable and exciting musical experience!! Just to be amongst so many talented Native artists was an honor in itself. To be among the winners of the night was a gift that we will never forget. Thank you very much.
Thanks for being so professional and easy to work with. Your correspondence throughout the nomination period was greatly appreciated as well. Have a nice day.
-Charly Lowry
Best Video

What a fantastic job you and Don did with the Nammys.
I have heard nothing but good things about the show.   Again, great job!
Jody Roberts
 Rep for Gil Birmingham


It was a great adventure and a fun weekend. It is a truly great event you have built. You and Rose are both like energizer bunnies, and there is a lot of positive energy and camaraderie surrounding the whole event. I can't even imagine trying to organize something of that size. 
Y'all are always welcome at our Backyard Blues campfire.
Love and Respect,
Backyard Blues Band
Ritchie Valens Tribute

We heard the news last night as we were traveling home from our concert. Paul and I want to thank you for this, it really means a lot to us and we felt bad that we couldn't be there in person. I'm sure all went well and that you had a successful night.
Group of the Year

Well you did a wonderful job. I have heard nothing but good things about the event from everyone.
Darryl Tonemah
Performer & Best Folk Nominee

Thank you all for your votes and appreciation of my music. It was such an honor for me to receive the "Best New Age" award for the "Deep Within" CD on Oct.3, 2009 @ the Native American Music Awards Ceremony in Niagara Falls. This was a wonderful time to become acquainted with other artists' work and to renew former connections with friends too.
Bless each of your lives with peace.. Sincerely,
Tony Redhouse.
Best New Age Recording

Hi its Jace Martin. I just wanna say how much fun I had performing at
this years Nama' was so great.
Jace Martin
Debut Artist Nominee & Ritchie Valens Tribute Performer

Congratulations on yet another successful Native American Music Awards
Show. Thank you for letting me be a part of it.
Ms. Bo Johnson, Producer & Host
KRFC, Fort Collins, CO


Words cannot express my gratitude and appreciation for the phenomenal show you put on this year. From the moment I arrived the warmth, care, support and welcoming spirit from everyone made me feel right at home. The music, the venue, the performers, and everyone involved in the show touched my heart and nourished my spirit. I am deeply honored to have been able to participate in the Native American Music Awards this year as a nominee and presenter. Winning the Nammy in the Native Heart category was a dream come true.
The whole experience was a great gift I will treasure the rest of my life.
Michael Brant DeMaria

On behalf of our performing artists; Michael Bucher and Wind Spirit Drum, we send a heartfelt thank you for all you do for Native American people, culture and music industry. It is a sincere honor to receive the awards.
With much respect,
Studio West Management

I want to thank you for giving me an opportunity to perform, most importantly all the other indigenious artists in our nation that are so talented. I was so proud to see such an array of talent in Indian Country. I also made some new friends and inspired in my own musical endeavors. It was a pleasure to work with the crew, meet everyone, and experience something new. I'm used to singing with pianos with no mics in auditoriums and the stage and monitors were a whole new experience for me.  Wonderful growing experience for me. I'm so used to performing here in Oneida that is nice to spread my wings and meet so many wonderful people during my travels. Again, thanks for the opportunity, sincerely appreciate it.
Jennifer M. Stevens
Soprano from Green Bay! :)


Arriving at this wonderland event is the start of a memory for a lifetime. It was almost dreaming -- here to rehearse and hob-nob with some of the big names in Native American music. There I was, a 76-year-old composer about to be on stage. As a representative of the Mohawk Community of Tyendinaga, I was greeted with traditional greeting words, embraces, and well-wishes. I began to walk proudly among the many Native Nations in attendance. There was so much absolute brotherhood at this event -- everyone happy to be a part of this historic happening. Soon other Mohawk were coming to me to greet me and to wish this "Ista" (aunt) the best. Astikyonke from Akwesasne greeted me and I him--"we are one people" he said to me. Later in the evening he was awarded his NAMY for-Best Folk Recording--and still he came to The soprano, JENNIFER M. STEVENS, an Oneida-Lakota from Green Bay Wisconsin sang and I accompanied her at the keyboard in the aria: "But, What of My People?" from my opera Molly of the Mohawks.(the opera was up for an award in the category: Best Historical CD). Her clear soprano voice soared and the words of the aria reached the audience -- the powerful message of the song -- "But What of My People?" Later that night and even the next day, so many people came to her and myself to praise the performance and the song's meaning -- The message had been delivered!!! A door opened and we knew that the Native world heard our call -- Molly had asked --"who hears our plea? and what of our people?" ---Here the NAMA was telling the world--music is the great healer. Tonight an Oneida and a Mohawk had delivered that message.

--Willow Wind (Augusta Cecconi-Bates) October 5th, 2009

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"Music lies at the heart of Indian Country. From birth to death,
all of life's events and occasions are celebrated with Song."


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