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Category: Native American History

Pamyua. Photo courtesy of the artists.

Homegrown Plus Premiere: Pamyua’s Modern Yup’ik Drumsongs

Posted by: Stephen Winick

We're excited to continue the Homegrown Plus Premiere series with Pamyua, a trio performing traditional Inuit (Yup'ik) drumsongs from Alaska with a distinct and unique American sound. As is usual for the series, this blog post includes an embedded concert video, an interview video, and a set of related links to explore! Together for more than 15 years, Pamyua (pronounced Bum yo-ah) has entertained millions with their fusion of traditional Inuit music and Yup’ik dance performance. Founding members Phillip Blanchett, Stephen Blanchett and Ossie Kairaiuak are from the Yukon/ Kuskokwim River Delta region in southwestern Alaska. Pamyua found national recognition in 2003, winning Record of the Year at the Native American Music Awards, and is now considered a cultural treasure across the circumpolar north. Native People magazine praised their "blizzard of interlocking harmonies" and Alaska magazine rated them "one of the 10 greatest Alaska artists of the millennium." The group has performed at distinguished events worldwide, including the 25th Anniversary of Greenlandic home rule, which was attended by Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, and the grand opening of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of the American Indian.

A man playing a guitar and singing to a close crowd of a dozen or so men and women

Homegrown Plus: PIQSIQ Inuit-Style Throat Singing

Posted by: Stephen Winick

It's been a while since we posted a Homegrown Plus post! In this ongoing series, we present Homegrown concerts that also had accompanying oral history interviews, placing both videos together in an easy-to-find blog post. We're continuing the series with PIQSIQ, an Inuit style throat singing duo who characterize their style as being "galvanized by darkness and haunting northern beauty." PIQSIQ is composed of sisters Tiffany Kuliktana Ayalik and Kayley Inuksuk Mackay. These talented performers come together to create a unique duo, performing ancient traditional songs along with new compositions. The two grew up in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, with roots in Nunavut, Canada's northernmost territory. After years of hard work on their music, they have developed their own form, blending haunting melodies and otherworldly sounds. As PIQSIQ, they perform their songs with live improvisational looping, creating a dynamic audience experience that changes with every show. In this blog, you'll find their November 2020 concert and their February 2021 oral history interview.

A man playing a guitar and singing to a close crowd of a dozen or so men and women

Explore Native American Event Videos from the American Folklife Center

Posted by: Stephanie Hall

Native American events sponsored by the American Folklife Center have provided Indians and Native Alaskans opportunities to present performing arts and lectures at the Library of Congress to reach audiences with their cultural arts and inform people about their cultures, languages, and concerns such as preservation of their traditions. This blog will focus on the …

A man playing a guitar and singing to a close crowd of a dozen or so men and women

Navigating AFC Collections Geographically: Southwest

Posted by: Stephanie Hall

The following is a guest post by American Folklife Center Reference Librarian Alda Allina Migoni. Staff at the American Folklife Center continue to use new digital tools to support remote discovery and access for our resources by users of all kinds. Whether you are a community scholar, a teacher, an academic researcher, a creative artist, …

A man playing a guitar and singing to a close crowd of a dozen or so men and women

Navigating AFC Collections Geographically: Great Plains

Posted by: Stephanie Hall

The following is a guest post by American Folklife Center head of reference, Judith Gray. Staff at the American Folklife Center continue to use new digital tools to support remote discovery and access for our resources by users of all kinds. Whether you are a community scholar, a teacher, an academic researcher, a creative artist, …

Photo of a coastline and the sea.

Navigating AFC Collections Geographically: Pacific Region States

Posted by: Stephanie Hall

Staff at the American Folklife Center continue to use new digital tools to support remote discovery and access for our resources by users of all kinds. Whether you are a community scholar, a teacher, an academic researcher, a creative artist, or a curious consumer of local culture we hope that our geographically-oriented research guides offer …

A man playing a guitar and singing to a close crowd of a dozen or so men and women

Summer Festivals and Celebrations

Posted by: Stephanie Hall

Summer solstice was traditionally a time of revelry as the end of planting and the beginning of summer were celebrated. As the summer crops ripen, the fruit of the labor of planting is celebrated in various ways, especially the harvest of staple crops. The grain and hay harvests in late July and early August is …

A man playing a guitar and singing to a close crowd of a dozen or so men and women

The Power of Words, the Power of Belonging: What the Navajo Code Talkers Taught Me

Posted by: Megan Harris

The following is a guest post by Nathan Cross, VHP Archivist and primary author of VHP’s Navajo Code Talkers LibGuide. The Veterans History Project (VHP) is pleased to announce a new resource designed to introduce VHP’s holdings related to the veterans known as Navajo Code Talkers. These veterans, Native Americans who served in the Pacific …

A man playing a guitar and singing to a close crowd of a dozen or so men and women

VHP’s Newest Online Exhibit: Legacies of Service: Celebrating Native Veterans

Posted by: Megan Harris

Today the Veterans History Project (VHP) launches a new online exhibit, part of our Experiencing War web feature series. Entitled “Legacies of Service: Celebrating Native Veterans,” the exhibit explores the lives and service experiences of 18 Native veterans who served in conflicts from World War II to Iraq and Afghanistan. Given the treatment of their …