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Who is Martha Redbone?

Our dear Mathilde Roch had a look into this amazing person and poet and wrote an article for WorldTribe!


By Michael Stokes - DSC_0275, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=83976627

Martha Redbone was born in 1966 in New York City raised by her grandparents.

From her mother's side has Cherokee roots, since her maternal grandmother lived in Black Mountain, Kentucky. Her maternal grandfather was a Choctaw.


Most of the time she lived in Brooklyn, New York, but went back to Kentucky often for traditional ceremonies.


Martha became a musician and singer. She combined music styles with Black American and Native American roots music. She began performing under the name of Martha Redbone in 1996. Regarding her personal story, her nickname “Redbone” was given to her by her father when she was very young. She decided to keep this name for her music career.


In 2002 she went to the stage at the Native American Music Awards. Since then she became an educator and a mentor for many native North Americans. I listened to some of her songs here, and there is one of them that makes me cry every time I listen to it. It’s called “DRUMS”. It is about the cultural wealth of Indian people, and to tell Indian children not to be ashamed of their own cultural heritage and wisdom. It has been 600 years of war against Indian people in North America. The song emphasizes that Indian people have lost with dignity and pride, and white people only won with guilt and shame.


“... in our losing, we found proudness,

And in your winning, you found shame.”


What a wonderful commitment to promote ancestral wisdom.

I love songs with deep meanings like this one. Martha Redbone is an amazing discovery!


Mathilde Roch

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