Local Current Blog

Playlist: Songs to honor Indigenous Peoples Day

playlist cover artwork
Artwork by MPR

Indigenous Peoples Day, observed the second Monday of October in the United States, commemorates Native American history and culture in all forms.

The holiday is an opportunity to celebrate the rich and nuanced musical legacies of Indigenous people. There are ceremonial songs that have traveled from one generation to the next, as well as countless artists thriving within popular music forms. From folk to hip-hop and electronica to the blues, Native songwriters use their gifts to tell stories, express joy and sadness, and interpret the topics of the day.

With input from Minnesotans with tribal nation heritage, The Current has compiled a living, breathing playlist to explore and honor musical contributions tied to the spirit, diversity, and legacies of Indigenous communities in the U.S. and beyond.

Indigenous Peoples Day Playlist Contributors

Winona LaDuke (Anishinaabe) – The author, activist, and past Green Party vice presidential candidate lives in northwestern Minnesota.  Learn more, and listen to Winona LaDuke’s personal playlist here.

Annie Humphrey (Anishinaabe) – The musician and visual artist grew up on the Leech Lake Indian Reservation in northern Minnesota, and has been releasing music since the late ’80s. Learn more, and listen to Annie Humphrey’s personal playlist here.

Jaida Grey Eagle (Oglala Lakota) – The photojournalist, producer, beadwork artist, and writer lives in St. Paul. Learn more, and listen to Jaida Grey Eagle’s personal playlist here.

Listen: Indigenous Peoples Day Playlist

Thank you for listening. Is there a track that holds special significance for you that is not on this list? Please leave your picks in the comments.