Mixing Native American Culture and Hip Hop


Category:  News & Politics

By:  kavika  •  2 weeks ago  •  21 comments

Mixing Native American Culture and Hip Hop

You may not like Hip Hop or know little about Native American culture but an American Indian Hip Hop artist, Supaman has combined the two and it has become quite famous. 

The regalia worn by Supaman is from the "Fancy Dance'' and the regalia worn by Acosia Red Elk is from the Jingle Dance. The historical significance of both dances is quite interesting. 

Perhaps the most well-known or popular of all Native American tribal dance, the fancy dance in fact was not a historical dance of any one tribe. It was created by members of the Ponca tribe in the 1920s and 1930s, in an attempt to preserve their culture and religion. At this time, Native American religious dances were outlawed by the United States and Canadian governments. Traditional dances soon went “underground,” to avoid government detection. However, this dance, loosely based on the traditional War Dance, was considered appropriate to be performed for visitors on reservations. It was further made popular by Buffalo Bill in his ‘Wild West’ shows

This dance is fast-paced, colorful, and highly energetic. The dancer needs to have a lot of stamina and strength to maintain all the extremely athletic movements for an extended period of time. The dance regalia is bold and colorful adding to the impact of this dance. It often includes brightly colored feather bustles and headwear, beaded bodices, leggings, shawls, and moccasins. Beaded cuffs, chokers, earrings, bracelets, and eagle plumes are also worn. Fancy dancers are the most common scene in public pow wows today and it has become a competitive sport in inter-tribal pow wow gatherings. If you have ever been to a pow wow, chances are you have seen dancers perform this particular dance.

The Jingle Dress Dance began with the northern tribe Ojibwe in the early 1900s and became prevalent in the 1920s in Wisconsin and Minnesota in the US, and in Ontario in Canada.

The story is that the dress was first seen in a dream. A medicine man’s granddaughter grew sick, and as he slept his spirit guides came to him and told him to make a Jingle dress for her. They said if she danced in it the dress would 

The Jingle dress was made, and the tribe came together to watch her dance. At first, she was too sick to dance alone and so her tribe carried her, but after a little time she was able to dance alone, cured of her sickness.

It’s likely that the sickness she was experiencing was a part of the 1918 flue pandemic, which hit the Native American communities hard close to the Great Lakes. This was closely followed by a federal ban on ritual dancing in the 1920s on reservations. The dance has since been not only a dance of healing but also one of pride.

The dance is now performed competitively and in ceremonies by women and girls of all ages.


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1  author  Kavika     2 weeks ago


Both dancers are members of the Apsáalooke tribe in English it would be the Crow Tribe.

Raven Wing
1.1  Raven Wing  replied to  Kavika @1    2 weeks ago

A great showing of both the Fancy Dance and Jingle Dance.

Thank you for posting this video so that those here who are not familiar with Native American dances can enjoy seeing them.

1.2  Dulay  replied to  Kavika @1    2 weeks ago

You sent me off on a jam tangent. Thank you...

1.2.1  author  Kavika   replied to  Dulay @1.2    2 weeks ago

Here is another one for you, Dulay. Keith Secola NDN Car. (he's my cousin)

1.2.2  devangelical  replied to  Kavika @1.2.1    2 weeks ago

oh yeah...

1.2.3  CB   replied to  Kavika @1.2.1    2 weeks ago

Nice. Without being too returning to a point made in past content,  "Indian Car" makes me smile and remember that (Indian) car with the women driving backwards in reverse. Musically nice video. Grade A.

1.2.4  author  Kavika   replied to  CB @1.2.3    2 weeks ago

The scene from ''Smoke Signals''.....Too funny.

1.2.5  CB   replied to  Kavika @1.2.4    2 weeks ago

I love how matter of fact some Indian people are in their story delivery. I don't know if that is always the case, but it does remind me of the bull-rider video (I can't recall the winner's name) and his "refusal" to do a buy-in on the excitement around being #1 yet again. 

Perrie Halpern R.A.
2  Perrie Halpern R.A.    2 weeks ago

Wow, that was not only really cool and original, but that regalia was also amazing. Those colors, just beautiful. Thanks for sharing! 

3  TᵢG    2 weeks ago

That's certainly something one does not usually see.   Makes me wonder why there are not more Native American celebrities.   I know of the old group Redbone with their hit: "Come and Get Your Love" but that goes back to the 70's.

3.1  author  Kavika   replied to  TᵢG @3    2 weeks ago

There are many great Native musicians. The lead guitarist for the Ventures, Nookie Edwards was NA, The group Walela made up of Rita Coolidge her sister and niece did some great stuff. Robbie Robertson from ''The Band''. The Group Indigenous, Litefoot, Skyler Wolf, Jana Mashonee, etc etc.

PBS did a program, Indian's that Rocked the World.

3.2  CB   replied to  TᵢG @3    2 weeks ago

Funny. This song is classic. And I definitely remember it on the airways back "home" in the 70's. Indeed, I can see myself listening to it over the radio in my mind's 'eye.'

What's interesting is I must have seen this band performing it on a show (or several) and their heritage never stuck out to me as awkward or strange. Good pointing this out, Tig. It reminds me.

We need more publicity and mainlining of our Indian brothers and sisters. We really do. I don't know how the Indian culture feels about it though. Are they ready to join us in this "mixture" we are becoming?

As the song goes, "Everything is beautiful in its own way." (Ray Stevens 1971)

Note: I am so grateful when Kavika does cultural feature articles! More than I can say.

3.2.1  author  Kavika   replied to  CB @3.2    2 weeks ago
Note: I am so grateful when Kavika does cultural feature articles! More than I can say.

Chi miigwetch (many thanks) CB.

3.2.2  CB   replied to  Kavika @3.2.1    2 weeks ago

Wonderful informational. We need it (all). :)

MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)
3.3  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)  replied to  TᵢG @3    one week ago

LOVE LOVE LOVE that song!

4  sandy-2021492    2 weeks ago

Acosia Red Elk is regal - her pride in her heritage is evident.

4.1  author  Kavika   replied to  sandy-2021492 @4    2 weeks ago

I agree she is regal.

Buzz of the Orient
5  Buzz of the Orient    2 weeks ago

To think that for a time both the American and Canadian governments BANNED Native American / First Nation dances is UNBELIEVABLE.  I was able to watch the "WHY" (Jingle) Dance, with Supaman and Acosia Red Elk on a CHINESE music web site, along with some other amazing videos of Native Americans.

"To dance is to pray, to pray is to heal".  
5.1  author  Kavika   replied to  Buzz of the Orient @5    2 weeks ago
To think that for a time both the American and Canadian governments BANNED Native American / First Nation dances is UNBELIEVABLE

Since they were part of our religion both were banned for decades. It wasn't until 1978 that a law was passed in the US allowing us to practice our religion.

MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)
6  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)    one week ago

I could listen to and watch NA song and dance all day; I loved going to the Pow Wows in Oscoda, MI.

MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)
7  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)    one week ago

I can see where the bass drum beats of NA music could easily be applied to rap music; now I need to check out more Supaman.


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