Devoted to bringing Indigenous music to the world's consciousness. ”

— New York Times



Wes Studi (Cherokee) 2019

Wes Studi is a Native Oklahoman, Vietnam Veteran, Actor, Musician, Sculptor, Author, Activist and the first indigenous Native American actor to receive an Academy Award. His first few roles quickly established him as one of the most compelling actors in Hollywood; form the Pawnee Warrior in Dances with Wolves, to his powerful performance as Magua in Last of the Mohicans'; and as a LAPD Detective in Heat with Robert De Niro and Al Pacino.  Wes has well over 80 film and television productions to his credit, including his more recent appearances in Avatar and Hostiles.  He has brought unmatched dignity and integrity with each and every one of his performances.  He is undoubtedly, the greatest and most authentic Native American actor of our time.  Earlier this week, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences bestowed him with a Governors Award for his distinguished 30 year career, making him the first Native American actor to receive an Oscar.  Wes is also an accomplished musician and fronts the band Firecat of Discord with his wife, singer Maura Dhu while playing bass and guitar. His band has released one CD and recently completed new material.  His work has established him as a superior role model for all of Indian Country and for other indigenous actors and entertainers around the world. The Native American Music Awards is very proud to induct Wes Studi into the NAMA Hall of Fame.



2018 - The Native American Music Awards & Association is very proud to announce that Jesse Ed Davis was inducted into  the Native American Music Hall of Fame during the 18th Annual Native American Music Awards (NAMA) ceremony on    Friday, October 12th at the Seneca  Niagara Resort & Casino in Niagara Falls, New York.

 ABOUT JESSE ED DAVIS:  Jesse Ed Davis was one of music’s most distinctive and influential guitarists of the late ' 60s and early '70s. Whether it was blues, country, or rock, Jesse’s' impressive guitar playing was featured on numerous albums by such artists asEric Clapton,  Bob Dylan, Jackson Browne, Willie Nelson, Steve Miller, Leonard Cohen, Neil Diamond, John Lennon, George Harrison, Taj Mahal, John Lee Hooker and Rod Stewart as well as on his own. Born in Norman Oklahma, Jesse's father was Comanche and his mother was Kiowa. Jesse's two sisters accepted Jesse's award on his behalf, and his Graffitti Band members Mark Shark & Quiltman performed a tribute.

Jesse Ed Davis joins an impressive array of previous Hall of Fame inductees as: Link Wray, Jimi Hendrix, Redbone, Nokie Edwards, Taboo, Jim Pepper, Hank Williams, Buddy Red Bow, Jim Pepper & more. Jesse & many of these NAMA inductees were recently featured in "Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World"

Hall of Fame, Living Legend, Lifetime Achievement Recipients


Buddy Red Bow (Lakota) - Warfield Richards Red Bow (June 26, 1948 – March 28, 1993) was from South Dakota and a country artist. Buddy or Warfield  was adopted into the Red Bow family at a young age. He grew up on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation near Red Shirt, South Dakota and went to school in Rapid City, South Dakota. He became an actor and later served in the Vietnam War as a U.S. Marine in the 1960s. Red Bow made several records in the 1980s and 1990s as a singer and country musician. As an actor, he had minor roles in several Westerns, and a character in the 1989 film Powwow Highway, "Buddy Red Bow", was based on his life. He recorded and released four albums: Hard Rider (soundtrack, 1972), BRB (1981)Journey to the Spirit World (1983) and Black Hills Dreamer (1995). He was posthumously inducted into the Native American Music Awards Hall of Fame in 1998 by his parents and the Producer and writer of the movie, Thunderheart, John Fusco.

Crystal Gayle Brenda Gail Gatzimos  (Cherokee) (née Webb; January 9, 1951), known professionally as Crystal Gayle, is an American singer. Best known for her 1977 country-pop crossover song, "Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue", she had twenty #1 country songs during the 1970s and 1980s with six albums certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America. Gayle became the first female artist in country music history to reach platinum sales, with her 1977 album We Must Believe in Magic. Also noted for her nearly floor-length hair, she was voted one of the 50 most beautiful people in the world by People magazine in 1983. She is the younger sister of the country singer-songwriter Loretta Lynn and the singer Peggy Sue and a distant cousin of singer Patty Loveless.

Joyce Lee "Doc" Tate Nevaquaya (Comanche) (1932 -1996) A noted Comanche artist and American Indian flute player Doc Tate Nevaquaya was born to Lean and Victoria Tate Nevaquaya July 3, 1932, in Apache, Oklahoma. A self-taught artist, flutist, composer, dancer, lecturer, and Methodist lay minister, Nevaquaya gave numerous flute and art workshops throughout the United States, including classes at Brigham Young University (1972) and Georgetown University (1974). He made more than twenty-five television appearances, on shows televised nationally and by the British Broadcasting Corporation. He played flute at the Night of the First Americans, held at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. (1982), at the United Nations Mission, New York (1985), at the Codetalkers Decoration Ceremony, Oklahoma State Capitol (1989), and at Carnegie Hall in New York (1990).His sons have carried on his legacy as artists, flute players,and inducted their father posthumously into the Hall of Fame.

Felipe Rose (Lakota/Taino) (birth name: Felipe Ortiz Rose. born January 12, 1954) is a founding member of the disco group the Village People. In the group he represented the Native American from 1977 through 2017.Rose was born in New York City to a father who was a Lakota Sioux and a Puerto Rican mother. He was raised in Brooklyn where he displayed an interest in the arts during his childhood. His mother was his main inspiration as she herself had been a dancer for the Copacabana during the 1940s and 1950s. In 1977, Village People had their first hit with "San Francisco", although this song became a hit only in the United Kingdom. Then in 1978 they had their first hits in the U.S. with "Macho Man" followed by "Y.M.C.A." In the 1980s, Rose sang and danced for the Latin music maestro Tito Puente and he also starred in a regional theatre production of West Side Story.In 2000, Rose began to work on his solo career. His single Trails of Tears was nominated for 3 Native American Music Awards for Best Historical Recording, Song of the Year, and Best Producer. In 2002, Rose was the opening act of the Fifth Annual Native American Music Awards celebrated. That year he won the Award for the Best Historical Recording.

Janice Marie Johnson (Stockbridge-Munsee-Mohican) A Taste of Honey was an American recording act, formed in 1971 by associates Janice–Marie Johnson and Perry Kibble. In 1978, they had one of the best known chart-toppers of the disco era, "Boogie Oogie Oogie". The first single, "Boogie Oogie Oogie", from their debut album A Taste of Honey, spent three weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1978, and sold two million copies. The group was awarded two platinum records for the single and album, and won the Grammy Award for Best New Artist at the 20th Grammys. Johnson went on to record as a solo artist and released the album One Taste of Honey which produced numerous minor hits. In 2004, singers Hazel Payne (guitar) and Janice–Marie Johnson (bass) reunited for the first time in over 20 years to perform on the PBS specials Get Down Tonight: The Disco Explosion and My Music: Funky Soul Superstars. Janice–Marie Johnson, who is of Stockbridge-Munsee-Mohican heritage according to her website's biography, was inducted in the Native American Music Association Hall of Fame in 2008.

Jim Gilbert Pepper II  or Jim Pepper  (Kaw-Creek) (June 18, 1941 - February 10, 1992) was a  jazz saxophonist, composer, and singer. He was best-known for his song, "Witchi Tai-To." Pepper went on to a lengthy career in jazz, recording a dozen albums as a bandleader and appearing as sideman with the likes of drummer Paul Motian and pianist Mal Waldron. He often incorporated elements of Native American music into his style. Don Cherry and Ornette Coleman encouraged Pepper to reflect his roots and heritage and incorporate it into his jazz playing and composition. His "Witchi Tai To" song was derived from a peyote song of the Native American Church which he had learned from his grandfather. The song has been covered by many other artists. He was musical director for Night of the First Americans, a Native American benefit concert at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. in 1980 and played also at numerous powwows. His partner Caren Knight Pepper along with Mickey Hart, John Densmore, Bill Miller, Jim Boyd, Joanne Shenandoah, Rita Coolidge, Jennifer Warnes and others performed a special tribute of "Witchi Tai To" as part of his induction ceremony into the Hall of Fame.

James Marshall "JimiHendrix - (Cherokee) (November 27, 1942 – September 18, 1970) was an American rock guitarist, singer, and songwriter. Although his mainstream career spanned only four years, he is widely regarded as one of the most influential electric guitarists in the history of popular music. He helped to popularize the use of a wah-wah pedal in mainstream rock, and was the first artist to use stereophonic phasing effects in music recordings. He released four recordings: Are You Experienced (1967), Axis: Bold as Love (1967), Electric Ladyland (1968), and Band of Gypsys (1970) with four more posthumously. His paternal grandmother, Zenora "Nora" Rose Moore, was African American and one-quarter Cherokee who Hendrix spoke of often in interviews. Nora shared a love for theatrical clothing and adornment, music, and performance with Hendrix. She also imbued him with the stories, rituals, and music that had been part of her Afro-Cherokee heritage and her former life on the stage. Along with his attendance at black Pentecostal church services, writers have suggested these experiences may later have informed his thinking about the connections between emotions, spirituality, and music. He was posthumously inducted into the Native American Music Hall of Fame with a tribute performance by Richie Havens (Blackfoot).

Hank WIlliams or Hiram "HankWilliams (Muskogee Creek and Tsalagi) (September 17, 1923 – January 1, 1953) was inducted into the Native American Music Hall of Fame in 1999 because of his Muskogee Creek and Tsalagi (Cherokee) ancestry. He was an American singer-songwriter. Regarded as one of the most significant and influential American singers and songwriters of the 20th century, Williams recorded 35 singles (five released posthumously) that reached the Top 10 of the Billboard Country & Western Best Sellers chart, including 11 that ranked number one. After recording "Never Again" and "Honky Tonkin'" with Sterling Records, he signed a contract with MGM Records. In 1947 he released "Move It on Over", which became a hit, and also joined the Louisiana Hayride radio program. One year later, he released a cover of "Lovesick Blues" recorded at Herzog Studio in Cincinnati,[which carried him into the mainstream of music. His other hits include; "Your Cheatin' Heart", "Hey, Good Lookin'", and "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry". His grandson, Hank Williams III inducted his grandfather into the Hall of Fame with a tribute performance of a medley of hits.

Keith Secola (Ojibwa with the Anishinabe ) is an award-winning figure in contemporary Native American music. . Keith Secola plays guitar, flute, and also sings. His influences include reggae, folk music, and rock and roll. He has contributed music to documentary films, including Homeland, Patrick's Story and Dodging Bullets. His most recent award is "Best artist" at the 2006 Native American Music Awards for the album Native Americana. His most notable movie score was "NDN Kars" for the popular native film Dance Me Outside. He has recorded and released six albums; Circle, 1992), Wild Band of Indians, 1996, Fingermonkey  1999, Homeland 2000, Native Americana, 2005 and Life is Grand  2012. His music is familiar to thousands of fans across North America and Europe. Keith's famous song,"NDN KARS" is considered the contemporary Native American anthem and is the most requested song on Native radio in the US and Canada. Keith Secola is a seven-time Native American Music Award winner, receiving numerous Nammy nominations in various categories.

Kitty Wells Ellen Muriel Deason (August 30, 1919 – July 16, 2012), known professionally as Kitty Wells, was an American pioneering female country music singer with Cherokee blood. She broke down a female barrier in country music with her 1952 hit recording, "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels" which also made her the first female country singer to top the U.S. country charts, and turned her into the first female country star. Her Top 10 hits continued until the mid-1960s, inspiring a long list of female country singers who came to prominence in the 1960s. Other special honors include;  NARAS Governor's Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Recording Industry (1981), Academy of Country Music's Pioneer Award (1985), NARAS Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award (1991), The Music City News Living Legend Award (1993). There is a  large Native presence in country music due to the (mainly) Southern and Appalachian origins of most country singers. These regions saw both the historical intermixing of indigenous people, especially Cherokee and Muscogee (Creek) peoples.

Fred Lincoln "LinkWray, Jr. (Shawnee) (May 2, 1929 – November 5, 2005) was a rock and roll guitarist, songwriter, and vocalist who became popular in the late 1950s. Link Wray was the first to use intentional distortion in a rock & roll recording. He is credited with inventing the power chord, the “modus operandi” in rock & roll. Building on the distorted electric guitar sound of early records, his 1958 instrumental hit "Rumble" by Link Wray & His Ray Men not only popularized "the power chord," for all rock guitarists as well as brang the emergence of "punk and heavy rock". Rolling Stone placed Wray at No. 45 of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time In 2013 he was a nominee for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.Though he began in country music, his musical style went on to consist primarily of rock and roll, rockabilly, and instrumental rock. Three songs he performed were named for American Indian tribes: "Shawnee", "Apache", and "Comanche". Iggy Pop,  Neil Young. and Jimmy Page were influenced by Wray. Page says that Link Wray had a "real rebel attitude" and credits him in It Might Get Loud as a major influence in his early career. According to Rolling Stone, Pete Townshend of The Who once said, "If it hadn't been for Link Wray and 'Rumble,' I never would have picked up a guitar." Musician Steven Van Zandt inducted Link Wray into the Native American Music Hall of Fame with a tribute performance by his grandson Chris Webb and Native Artist Gary Small.

Mickie James While growing up in Virginia,  was a tomboy who always loved riding horses and WWE Mickie's strong Powhatan ancestry tracing back to the Mattaponi reservation, is something she has always embraced throughout her career and still remains very proud of. Today,  WWE® Superstar  Mickie James™ or Mickie Laree James is internationally recognized in the world of professional wrestling. She is a six time Women's champion.  As a recording artist, she has released two full length albums and two singles and is widely known in the country music circuit. She has  just released a new single, "Get Down" which is currently impacting country radio and can be purchased through iTunes, Amazon and other online digital retailers.Her single entitled, "Shooting Blanks" won a Native American Music Awards for Song of the Year.

Nokie Edwards (Cherokee) “Nokie” Edwards on May 9, 1935 in Lahoma, Oklahoma. He was one of 12 children of Albert Lee Edwards and his Cherokee mother, Nannie Mae Quinton. Nokie first picked up the guitar at age 5.  By age 11, he was playing every string instrument but chose the guitar to master. He turned professional at the age of 12 and by age 17, his guitar technique was unprecedented. He is universally recognized as one of the world’s premier guitarists, King of Surf music, and member of the internationally acclaimed instrumental group, The Ventures. Known for his innovative guitar sound, and credited for such hit songs as; Hawaii Five-O, Surf Rider aka Spudnik, and Wipe Out,  As a solo artist, Nokie has recorded over two dozen solo albums including the award-winning, Hitchin A RideHe has been a guest performer on dozen of CD recordings, has received numerous awards along with his inductions into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Native American Music Hall of Fame. Nokie also performed on the soundtrack for the movie, “Pulp Fiction,” and appeared as an actor in the HBO series, “Deadwood.”Nokie won Best Instrumental Recording at the 12th Annual Native American Music Awards for his solo instrumental effort, Hitchin' A Ride. He was also honored with a Hall of Fame Induction by the Native American Music Association at the 13th Annual Awards ceremony in 2011 and performed. Nokie Edwards was born Nole Floyd The Ventures became the number one instrumental band in the world and were considered a phenomenon in the music business. To date, The Ventures recorded over 350 albums and sold over 100 million albums worldwide.  

Redbone (Intertribal) is a rock group from the 1970s featuring founding members, brothers Pat and Lolly Vegas. They reached the Top 5 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1974 with their  hit single, "Come and Get Your Love". The single went certified Gold selling over a million copies. Other Redbone hits singles include; "We Were All Wounded At Wounded Knee", "The Witch Queen of New Orleans", "Wovoka", and "Maggie". The word "redbone" is a Cajun term for a mixed-race person, which the band adopted to signify their own mixed blood ancestry. Patrick and Lolly Vasquez-Vegas were a mixture of Yaqui, Shoshone, and Mexican heritage. Pat Vegas and Tony Bellamy (Yaqui) performed at the inaugural Native American Music Awards.

Rickey Medlocke (Lakota) (born February 17, 1950) is an  musician best known as the frontman/guitarist for the southern rock band Blackfoot and a member of Lynyrd Skynyrd. During his first stint with Lynyrd Skynyrd from 1971-1972 he played drums and sang lead on a few songs that would initially be released on 1978's "First and Last". Medlocke would rejoin Blackfoot in 1972 and later returned to Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1996 as a guitarist with whom he continues to tour and record today. Medlocke was inducted into the Native American Music Hall of Fame in 2008. 

Richard Steven Valenzuela (May 13, 1941 – February 3, 1959), known professionally as Ritchie Valens, was a Mexican-American with Yaqui American Indian roots. He was a singer, songwriter, guitarist and rock & roll pioneer of the Chicano rock movement, Valens' recording career lasted eight months, as it abruptly ended when he died in a plane crash. During this time, he had several hits, most notably "La Bamba", which he had adapted from a Mexican folk song. Valens transformed the song into one with a rock rhythm and beat, and it became a hit in 1958, making Valens a pioneer of the Spanish-speaking rock and roll movement. On February 3, 1959, on what has become known as "the Day the Music Died", Valens died in a plane crash in Iowa, an accident that also claimed the lives of fellow musicians Buddy Holly and J. P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson, as well as pilot Roger Peterson. His youngest brother Mario along with Buddy Holly's Tommy Allsup (Cherokee), performed a musical tribute for his Hall of Fame induction. Mario knows Ritchie through his music and through stories told by their Mama, family members, and fellow musicians who toured with Ritchie, like Tommy Allsup, and Link Wray,

Russell Means  or Russell Charles Means (November 10, 1939 – October 22, 2012) was an Oglala Lakota activist for the rights of American Indian people, libertarian political activist, actor, writer, and musician. He became a prominent member of the American Indian Movement (AIM) after joining the organization in 1968, and helped organize events that attracted national media coverage. He was active in politics at his native Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and at the state and national level. Beginning an acting career in 1992, he appeared on numerous television series and in several films, including The Last of the Mohicans, and released his own music CDs. He published his autobiography Where White Men Fear to Tread in 1995. 

Taboo of the Black Eyed Peas Taboo’s Shoshone ancestry on his maternal side is something he has always remained proud of.  In his autobiographical book, Fallin Up, he wrote about how his Native American grandmother would encourage him to embrace the "warrior spirit" that was forever in his blood. Growing up in the mean streets of East LA surrounded by poverty, gangs and drugs, Taboo’s rise is one of inspiration and admiration. Today, Taboo, or Jimmy Gomez, is an internationally recognized American hip hop recording artist, actor, and DJ best known for his work with the super group, The Black Eyed  Peas.


Mickie James inducted 2017   

Mickie Laree James is internationally recognized in the world of professional wrestling as well as in country music. She is incredibly proud of her traditional ways, continually embracing her Powhatan teachings throughout her career, as recently seen in this year’s WrestleMania 33. Mickie’s a six-time WWE Women’s Champion. As a young indigenous child growing up in Virginia, Mickie would ride horses, play violin and dream of being a beacon of light in the wrestling business.  Her dreams came true when she debuted on the national stage for Total Nonstop Action and signed a developmental deal with World Wrestling Entertainment. She won her first Women's Championship at WrestleMania 22 and became the first indigenous woman to win WWE's Women's & Divas championship as well as the TNA's Title three times. Mickie has set a pathway and broken many barriers for women in the WWE as well as for young indigenous women. Mickie has also pursued her other passions in music creating a career in country music.  In 2010, Mickie self released her first album entitled, Strangers and Angels, which displayed her powerful vocal range and style. Her second album, Somebody's Gonna Pay, with SMG Music Nashville was equally impressive and debuted at #15 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart. The album also featured the hit song, "Hardcore Country," which became Mickie's TNA entrance song.  Mickie has performed across the country and shared the stage with huge country icons such as; Rascal Flatts, Montgomery Gentry, Gretchen Wilson and Randy Houser. She is currently working on her third album with SMG. Let’s take a look at Mickie’s sacred gifts. Mickie has served as an  inspiration and incredible elder  for all indigenous youth across the nation.  Her world renowned reputation as a WWE Superstar, professional wrestler, and country singer undoubtedly warrants her high place of prominence in the NAMA Hall of Fame. 

Jesse Ed Davis inducted 2018

An enrolled Kiowa with Comanche, Seminole and Muscogee Creek heritage, Jesse was one of the most highly regarded guitarists of the late 60s.  By the early 70s he was rock’s hottest session guitarist. His simple and soulful sound appeared on over 100 albums and recordings with his three favorite guitars; the Telecaster, Stratocaster, and Gibson SC. You may not have known him, but you have definitely heard him. He was a musical legend in his own right, an unsung hero, and certainly one of the greatest guitarists to have ever lived. Eric Clapton called Jesse “Brilliant” and said “He was a genius years ahead of his time”. Jesse  said “I just play the notes that sound good.” He influenced the playing of Duane Allman and the sound of Aerosmith. He recorded and toured with Jackson Browne, Bob Dylan, Leon Russell, Eric Clapton and Rod Stewart and the Faces.  He was John Lennon’s friend and guitarist of choice. He shared the stage with George Harrison in the Concert for Bangladesh. And he appeared on the Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus. He also played country with Willie Nelson, Soul with Marvin Gaye, blues with B.B. King, pop with Neil Diamond, and folk with Arlo Guthrie.  His versatility was far and wide and it all came naturally to Jesse. Jesse recorded three solo albums entitled, Jesse Davis, Ululu (pronounced oooh Lulu) and Keep Me Comin. He worked and released four albums with Taj Mahal and two with the John Trudell and the Graffiti band featuring members Mark Shark and Quilt Sahme who later formed Bad Dog. 


Wes Studi inducted 2019

Native Oklahoman, Vietnam Veteran, Actor, Musician, Scultptor, Author and Activist are all words describing the legendary actor, Wesley Studi. As one of the country’s greatest actors,  his achievements are many. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences bestowed him with a Governors Award for his distinguished 30 year career, making him the first Native American Actor to receive an Oscar. His first few roles quickly established him as one of the most compelling actors in Hollywood’, from the Pawnee Warrior in Dances With Wolves, to his powerful performance as Magua in “Last of the Mohicans”; and as a LAPD Detective in Heat with Robert De Niro and Al Pacino.  If you are counting, Wes has well over 80 film and television productions to his credit, including his more recent appearances in  Avatar and Hostiles.  He has made all of us proud and has brought unmatched dignity and integrity with each and every one of his performances. He has made our veterans proud too, especially when he appeared on the 90th Academy Awards as part of a military tribute. He spoke in his native Cherokee language about his appreciation to all veterans and Cherokees who served with courage and sacrifice. He is also an accomplished musician and fronts the band Firecat of Discord with his wife, singer Maura Dhu while playing bass and guitar.  His band has already released one CD and have completed some new material. Over the years, he has also appeared as a special guest on this stage. His work has established him as a superior role model for all of Indian Country and for other indigenous actors and entertainers around the world.