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Not All Killed by John Wayne: The Long History of Indigenous Rock, Metal, and Punk 1940s to the Present


In looking at the contribution of Indigenous punk and hard rock bands, there has been a long history of punk that started in Northern Arizona, as well as a current diverse scene in the Southwest ranging from punk, ska, metal, doom, sludge, blues, and black metal. Din�, Apache, Hopi, Pueblo, Gila, Yaqui, and O’odham bands are currently creating vast punk and metal music scenes. In this thesis, I argue that Native punk is not just a cultural movement, but a form of survivance. Bands utilize punk and their stories as a conduit to counteract issues of victimhood as well as challenge imposed mechanisms of settler colonialism, racism, misogyny, homophobia, notions of being fixed in the past, as well as bringing awareness to genocide and missing and murdered Indigenous women. Through D.I.Y. and space making, bands are writing music which resonates with them, and are utilizing their own venues, promotions, zines, unique fashion, and lyrics to tell their stories. The new wave of punk music and artists are making space for bands that are led by femme, transgender, and non-binary musicians. Moreover, Indigenous women are making spaces in historically white, male dominated scenes. I will be using the framework by Anishinaabe scholar, Gerald Vizenor of survivance which is “an active resistance and repudiation of dominance, as well as obtrusive themes of tragedy, nihilism, and victimry.” In this case, I will be looking at punk as a form of survivance in four themes of environmental and Indigenous rights, D.I.Y. space making, gender/queer empowerment, and positive mental health and strength for the future generations. By using punk rock, this thesis will share stories of how bands have denounced being victims or static in the past. I will be using textural analysis, discursive themes, non-institutional archives, looking at oral histories, performances, zines, flyers, video footage, lyrics, digital archival evidence, documentaries, band social medias, newspapers, as well as using interviews to substantiate my arguments. Indigenous punk bands are continuing their long legacy and movement of punk rock in the Four Corners region.

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