19th Annual 


Hosted By


Saturday, November 2, 2019

 Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino

Niagara Falls, New York

 Tickets On-Sale At Ticketmaster Now

To Purchase Tickets Visit : 


Featured Performances By:

Joanne & Leah Shenandoah 

Callie & Ellson Bennett  

DJ Shub

Innastate Jamie Coon  

Keith Secola

Kelly Derrickson

Newtown Womens Singers

Shelley Morningsong & Fabian Fontenelle  

               The Cody Blackbird Band 


The Ed Koban Group 

and Comedian JR Redwater 




Special Honors To: 

John Gourley and Zachary Carothers of 

Portugal the Man


and the Hall of Fame induction of 

Wes Studi

and more!

With Special Guests:

Ava Rose Johnson

Bernhard Mikuskovics & George Baum

Blue Mountain Tribe 

Caren Pepper

Connor Chee

Corey Rae White  & Kaliah Jackson 

Crazy Flute

Dail Dragonfly Martin

Daniel Katsuk

David Rose

Desja Eagle Tail

Gabriel NightShield

G Precious 

Burton Guibord

Harvey Arden Group

Irv Lyons

Joan Hammell

Just Jamez

Koli Kohler

Lee Banjo

Lenny Peppers

Michelle Thomas

Nathan Foote

Nick Lone


Patrick Therrien of Watopeka

Peter Sackeney

Raven Diamond

Rex Lyons of Ripchords

Scott Kalama of Blue Flamez

Shelly Nichols of Warrior Wings

Shon Denay


Spirit of Thunderheart

Spur Pourier

Stl’atlmix Friends

The Spiritual Warriors

Thoz Womenz 

Tim Brooks


War Bonnett

Wildcat Peak 




Attention Nominees..Please Contact Us If Attending at NAMALIVE@aol.com



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19th Annual Awards Official List of Nominees 


Artist of the Year 

Bear Fox (Mohawk) - Life Blanket

Murphy Platero (Navajo) - Butterflies, Horses and Guitars

Shelley Morningsong (Northern Cheyenne) - Simple Truth

Tonemah (Lumbee) - Red Dirt Remark

Vince Redhouse (Navajo) - A Distant Star

Wade Fernandez (Menominee) - Journey of the Heart


Group or Duo of the Year

Crazy Flute (Cherokee) - We Belong To The Music

Cree Confederation (Cree/Various) - Medicine Horse

Larry Redhouse Quartet (Navajo) - Naomi’s Dance

Sihasin (Navajo) - Fight Like A Woman

The Cody Blackbird Band and Connor Chee (Dakota, Cherokee, Navajo) - Live From White Horse Black Mountain

Young Spirit (Plains Cree/Various) - Red Dress Special/Love, Life, Round Dance


New Artist or Debut Artist of the Year 

Alex FireThunder (Lakota) - Makȟóčhe Kiŋ Theȟíla (Love For The Land) 

D Johnson (Navajo) - K Town 

David Lopez (Comanche/Tarahumara) - If I Won The Lottery 

Def-i (Navajo) -  Dream Trails

Matt James (Ojibway) - A Miner’s Prayer

Shon Denay (Oglala Lakota) - On The Rocks


New or Debut Duo/Group of the Year 

Innastate (Jicarilla Apache/Jemez Pueblo/Santa Domingo Pueblo/Isleta Pueblo) - Verde

Niijii Singers and Ogiichidaa Singers (Lac du Flambeau Ojibwa) - Hear Our Songs

Stl’atl’imx & Friends (St’at’imc)- The Kindness Project

The Spiritual Warriors (Interior Salish Lil’wat) - Ancestors

War Bonnet (Ojibwe) - The Ghost Dance

Wildcat Peak (Navajo) - Awake


Best Female Artist 

Blanca Iris Acuna (Taino) - Poets Ocean

Desja Eagle Tail (Crow/GrosVentre) - What Do I Got To Do

Jiiniikwe Medicine Bird (Bay Mills Anishinabe, Hunkpapa Lakota) -Destiny/Infinite Web

Koli Kohler (Hoopa, Yurok, Karuk) - How I Am

Marcia Chum (Cree) - Undone

Shon Denay (Oglala Lakota) - On The Rocks


Flutist of the Year  

Calvin J. Standing Bear (Sicungu, Oglala) - Eagle Dances With The Wind

Dail Dragonfly Martin (Huron, Wyandott, MicMac) - Enter The Circle/ In The Spirit of Peace

Holly Harris of Painted Raven (Cherokee/Sioux) - Sacred Spiral

Jack Flute Holland of Crazy Flute (Cherokee)  - We Belong To The Music

Vince Redhouse (Navajo) - A Distant Star

Wade Fernandez (Menominee)- Journey of the Heart


Best Male Artist 

Herman Cody (Navajo) - Life On The Rez

Joe Tohonnie, Jr (Apache) - Journey Into A New Direction

Louie Gonnie (Navajo/Zuni) - Night Side

Lowery Begay (Navajo) - Touching The Sky

Murray Porter (Mohawk) - Stand Up!

Nahko (Apache) - Dragonfly 


Record of the Year

A Distant Star - Vince Redhouse (Navajo)

Brother Hawk - Calvin J. Standing Bear & James Torres Red Tail Chasing Hawks (Sicungu, Oglala) 

Colors of the Rainbow - Alexandro Querevalu’ (Quechua) 

One Earth World Fusion Music - Various Artists

Ongtupqa - Clark Tenakhongva, Gary Stroutso, Matthew Nelson (Hopi)

Parallel Universe - Joseph FireCrow ( Northern Cheyenne), Thomasina Levy, David Darling

Red Dress Special - Young Spirit (Plains Cree/Various)


Song  of the Year -  Full length recording

Ancestors Song - Stl’atl’imx & Friends (St’at’imc)- The Kindness Project

Clouds of Sunset -- Alexandro Querevalu’ (Quechua) from Colors of the Rainbow

Looking For The Light - Irv Lyons Jr (Oneida)

Shine - Sihasin (Navajo)

SaVivor - Night Shield (Rosebud)  featuring Wellington Downz & Cody Blackbird 

This is Our Song- The Spiritual Warriors (Interior Salish Lil’wat) - Ancestors

Walk In Beauty - Joseph FireCrow ( Northern Cheyenne), Thomasina Levy, David Darling from Parallel Universe


Best Indie Single of the Year - Single Release Only

Directions - Hawane Rios featuring Nahko (Kanaka Madi/Apache)

Human - Twin Flames (Inuit/Mohawk, Cree/Metis)

I Don't Give A - Mickie James (Powhatan)

Liberty - Eagle &  Hawk (Ojibway)

My Supplication - Ellson Bennett ft Callie Bennett (Navajo)

We Are Love - Kelly Derrickson (First Nation Stylix)

We Will Rise Up - Joanne Shenandoah (Oneida)

When We Were Young - Jamie Coon (Creek/Seminole)


Best Independent Recording By A New Artist - Single Release Only

Beautiful Day-  Raenisa Ridley (Ute Hopi)  

Break These Chains - Just Jamez (Colville)

Dimmer - Corey Rae White (Ho Chunk)

Energies - Gunner Jules (Lakota)

Heaven’s Window - Ava Rose Johnson (Osage/Cherokee) 

One of A Kind - Spur Pourier (Oglala)  

Pagan - Glass Eden (Mescalero Apache, Quahada Comanche)

Undone - Marcia Chum (Cree Constance Lake)

Wild Rose - Whisperhawk (Shoshone)




Best Blues Recording

Live At Subcat Studios - The Ripcords (Onondaga Nation) 

Lucky #13 - Marc Brown (Huslia)

No Color In The Blues - Jared Stewart (Crow)

Simple Truth - Shelley Morningsong (Northern Cheyenne)

Stand Up! - Murray Porter (Mohawk)  


Best Country Recording 

A Miner’s Prayer - Matt James (Ojibway)

How I Am - Koli Kohler (Hoopa, Yurok, Karuk)  

K Town - D Johnson (Navajo) 

What Do I Got To Do - Desja Eagle Tail (Crow/N.Cheyenne/Seneca/Cree)

Red Dirt Remark - Tonemah (Lumbee) 

Way Out West - Marty Stuart (Choctaw)


Best Folk Recording

Are We Free? - Burton Guibord (Bad River Ojibwe)

Life Blanket - Bear Fox (Mohawk) 

Makhohe Kiy Tuehila - Alex FireThunder (Oglala Lakota) 

Nature Walk - Joan Hammel, Tim Brooks (Colville)

The Kindness Project - Stl’atl’imx & Friends (St’at’imc)

Two Trees Standing - Atlatl (Cherokee) 


Best Gospel/Inspirational/Native American Church  Recording

Azee Diyin - Anthony Benally (Navajo) 

Butterflies, Horses and Guitars - Murphy Platero (Navajo) 

Continuation Songs - Martinez Lee Sr (Navajo)

Night Side - Louie Gonnie (Navajo/Zuni)

No Greater Love - Robby Cummings (Lumbee/Cherokee) 

Remedy - Quinton Gonnie (Navajo)


Best Historical/Linguistic/Spoken Word Recording  

Ancestors - The Spiritual Warriors (Interior Salish Lil’wat) 

Makȟóčhe Kiŋ Theȟíla (Love For The Land) - Alex FireThunder (Oglala Lakota)

Songz - Thoz Womenz (Intertribal)

The Kindness Project - Stl’atl’imx Friends (Stl’atl’imx)

Wakan Olowan: Lakota Pipe Pipe Ceremonial & Spiritual Songs- Calvin J. Standing Bear (Sicungu, Oglala)  

Wisdomkeepers Radio - Harvey Arden & Wisdomkeepers Radio band (Cherokee)


Best Instrumental Recording 

A Distant Star - Vince Redhouse (Navajo)

Journey of the Heart - Wade Fernandez (Menominee) 

Naomi’s Dance - Larry Redhouse Quartet (Navajo) 

Native American Flute Music - Randy Granger (Mayan/Apache)

The Great Mystery - Larry Redhouse (Navajo)

Watopeka...la premiere ascension - Patrick Therrien (Alliance de Sherbrooke 081Kitne, Anishinaabe, Metis)

We Belong To The Music - Crazy Flute (Cherokee) 


Best New Age/Ambient/Soundscape Recording

Colors of the Rainbow - Alexandro Querevalú  (Quechua) 

Eagle Dances With The Wind - Calvin J. Standing Bear & James Torres Red Tail Chasing Hawks (Sicungu, Oglala) 

In the Spirit of Peace - Dail Dragonfly Martin (Huron, Wyandott, MicMac) 

One Earth World Fusion - Various Artists

Parallel Universe - Joseph FireCrow ( Northern Cheyenne), Thomasina Levy, David Darling

Sacred Spiral - Painted Raven (Cherokee/Sioux) 

Woodland Moons -Marcia Watson Bendo (Citizen Potawatomi)


Best Pop Recording

Asalia Keeper of the Stars - Asalia (Lac Vieux Desert Ojibwa) 

Awake - Wildcat Peak (Navajo)

Live From White Horse Black Mountain - The Cody Blackbird Band and Connor Chee (Dakota, Cherokee, Navajo) 

On The Rocks - Shon Denay (Oglala Lakota) 

Poets Ocean - Blanca Iris Acuna (Taino) 

Women At War: Warrior Songs - Various Artists


Best Pow Wow/ Drum Recording 

Love, Life, Round Dance - Young Spirit (Cree/Various)

Medicine Horse - Cree Confederation (Cree/Various)

Nitisanak: Brothers and Sister - Northern Cree (Cree/Various) 

Red Dress Special - Young Spirit (Plains Cree/Various) 

Songs - Thoz Womenz (Intertribal)

When It’s Cold - Northern Cree (Cree/Various) 


Best Producer/Engineer

Chris Colvin, Seth Donaldson, Ben Gordon - Wisdomkeepers Radio

Ed Stasium - Fight Like A Woman - Sihasin 

Kelly Parker - One Earth World Fusion Music - Various Artists

Patrick Therrien & Yves Casteau - Watopeka

Robert Doyle  - Second Night: El Capitan -  Todi Neesh Zhee (Navajo/Dine)

Stephen Butler - Nitisnak: Brothers and Sister - Northern Cree


Best Rap/Hip Hop/R&B Recording

Dream Trails - Def-i (Navajo) 

Eclectic -G Precious (Ohkay Owingeh) 

If I Won The Lottery - David Lopezz (Comanche/Tarahumara)

Native Pride - Nick Lone (Seneca) 

On My Way - Crimespree (Rosebud)

SaVivor - Night Shield (Rosebud) 


Best Rock Recording

Chris Ferree - Chris Ferree & Medicine Crow (Eastern Band of Cherokee) 

Fight Like A Woman - Sihasin (Navajo)

Infinite Web - Jiiniikwe Medicine Bird (Bay Mills Anishinabe, Hunkpapa Lakota) 

Labyrinth - Katsuk (Chickasaw)

Sisters & Brothers - Irv Lyons Jr (Oneida Wolf Clan)

The Ghost Dance - War Bonnet (Ojibwe) 


Best Traditional Recording

Journey Into A New Direction - Joe Tohonnie, Jr (Apache) 

Life On The Rez - Herman Cody (Navajo) 

Ongtupqa - Clark Tenakhongva, Gary Stroutsos, Matthew Nelson (Hopi)

Second Night: El Capitan - Todi Neesh Zhee (Navajo/Dine) 

Tradition - Spirit of Thunderheart (Schaghticoke, Metis) 

Wakan Olowan Pipe Ceremonial Songs - Calvin J. Standing Bear (Sicungu, Oglala) 


Best Waila/Chicken Scratch/ Recording

307th Ave & C Street - Famous Ones (Tohono O’odham) 

Fami:lia - Stevie Ray Vavages (Tohono O’odham) 

Music and Prayers ...then Now and until we meet Again - Lopez Band (Tohono O’odham)

Music In The Soul - Native Thunder (Tohono O’odham/Salt River Pima)

The Gift - Mariah’s Beats (Tohono O’odham)

The Waila Circle - Native Creed (Tohono O’odham)

Waila - Carl and Buddies (Tohono O’odham)


Best World Recording

Ancestors - The Spiritual Warriors (Interior Salish Lil’wat) 

Get To You -Native Nations (Navajo/Australia)

Labyrinth - Ecstasy - KatsuK (Chickasaw) 

One Earth World Fusion Music - Various Artists

Verde - Innastate (Jicarilla Apache/Jemez Pueblo/Santa Domingo Pueblo/Isleta Pueblo) 

Watopeka...la premiere ascension -Patrick Therrien (Alliance autochtone de Sherbrooke 081Kitne, Anishinaabe, Metis)


Best Music Video Recording

Deep End - Bigg B ft N8 (Warm Springs/Paiute/Wasco)

Directions - Hawane Rios ft Nahko (Kanaka Madi/Apache)

Controlled - Raven Diamond (Aztec, Inca/Mayan)

Deforestation - Tony Enos (Cherokee)

Beautifully - Michelle Thomas (Navajo)

Comeback - Shon Denay (Oglala Lakota) 


Best Concept for a Music Video 

Ecstasy - KatsuK (Chickasaw) from Labyrinth

Human - Twin Flames (Inuit/Mohawk, Cree/Metis)

I Don’t Give A - Mickie James (Powhatan)

My Heart Dreams - Black Belt Eagle Scout (Swinomish)

Next To You - from A Miner’s Prayer - Matt James (Ojibway)

Undone - Marcia Chum (Cree Constance Lake)


Best Music Video Narrative

Heaven’s Window - Ava Rose Johnson (Osage/Cherokee) 

How I Am - Koli Kohler (Hoopa, Yurok, Karuk)

Missing You - Joanne Shenandoah (Oneida)

Strong Together - Sihasin (Navajo)  

Reach Who You Are - Callie Bennett (Navajo)

So What - Love Collide (Chippewas First Nation)

We Are Love - Kelly Derrickson 


Best Rap Hip Hop Music Video 

Break These Chains - Just Jamez (Colville)

Reckless - Night Shield (Rosebud) featuring Trey Lane, CrimeSpree & Gorilla Pimp 

Reachin’, Seekin’ and Dreamin’ - Artson (Tarahumara)  featuring Sariyah Idan

Remember Me - Carradine Billie (Seminole)

Stand Up - Blue Flamez (Warm Springs/Nez Perce)


Best Music Video For A Live Performance

A Girl In Trouble - Deborah Iyall (Cowlitz)

Children On The Rez - Blue Mountain Tribe (Chiricahua Apache)

Live At Rockwood Hall - Raye Zaragoza (O'odham)

Live At Sub Cat Studios - The Ripcords (Onondaga) 

The Gila Monster - Connor Chee (Navajo)

Yoyqatsi (Rain of Life) -Clark Tenakhongva, Gary Stroutsos, Matthew Nelson (Hopi)


Native Heart Award (Non Native) 

Johnny Kee - Echoes From the Trail

Jonny Lipford- Moonsongs

Ken McGarity - Breath of Life

Mikuskovics Baum - Timeless

Peter Phippen - Seven

Wolfsheart - Acoustic Ride


Best Radio Program

Gregg McVIccar - Undercurrents

Harvey Arden & Wisdomkeepers Radio band

KOHN 91.9 FM - Tohono O’odham Nation

Native Circle Show/ David Rose - One World Music Radio

Deer Tracks on 94.7 FM, KGLP Gallup, NM with your host’s Shelley Morningsong & Strider Brown 

The Deep End with The Chaz on KBFT Bois Forte Tribal Radio 

A - Z NOMINEE TRACKS - By Artist in Alphabetical Order


 Mickie James

Mickie James is a WWE® Superstar & award winning country singer. While growing up in Virginia, Mickie James, or Mickie Laree James strong Powhatan ancestry is something she has always embraced throughout her career and still remains very proud of. Today, WWE® Superstar  Mickie James™ is internationally recognized in the world of professional wrestling. As a six time Women's champion she has set a precedent and broken many barriers for women. Mickie is the only female in history to win the WWE Womens’ title, the WWE Divas title, and the TNA Knockouts Championship titles. As a recording artist, she has also released two albums, six singles, and has performed with Rascal Flats, Gretchen Wilson, Randy Houser, Montgomery Gentry and at the CMAs. In 2017, she was inducted into the NAMA Hall of Fame. Last year, she was awarded Best Single Recording for her song, ‘Left, Right, Left.”  Mickie who is very proud of her heritage, continues to serve as an incredible inspiration and role model as a WWE Superstar, professional wrestler, country singer and entertainer. 


Wes Studi

From a small-town Oklahoma native who served in Vietnam, to the first Native American Actor to receive an Oscar, Wesley Studi has become an internationally acclaimed actor. Wes first caught the attention of the public in 1990 with Dances with Wolves. By 1992, his powerful performance as "Magua" in The Last of the Mohicans established him as one of the most compelling actors in Hollywood. In 1995, he appeared as a LAPD detective in Heat with Robert De Niro and Al Pacino. He has since appeared in more than 80 film and television productions, including Geronimo: An American Legend (1993), Skinwalkers (2002),  Avatar (2009) and most recently, Hostiles (2017). Last year, he appeared on the 90th Annual Academy Awards and spoke in his native Cherokee language as part of a military tribute. The Academy has just bestowed him with an Oscar “to honor extraordinary distinction in lifetime achievement, exceptional contributions to the state of motion picture arts and sciences." 



The Newtown Women And Youth Singers

Newtown Womens Singers are a traditional group from Seneca Territory who have been singing for many years and are now teaching younger Seneca ladies to also sing and preserve their language. Since their inception, Ohwejagehka Hadegaenage has distributed Earth Songs, or Iroquois Social Songs, as an effort to preserve and promote Iroquoian culture.  All the members of the Newtown Singers work hard to continue their traditional ways. In this new era, they believe, they must all continue to work together to carry on their culture for the generations yet to come. It is said that long ago when families would visit or when in need, the men would sit around after supper and sing songs, while the moms and babies cleaned up and played. Eventually, it turned into what today is called the “Sing.” The Newtown Women and Youth Singers now take turns hosting on all territories of the confederacies, twice a year in fall and spring. 


Callie Bennett  

Singing before she was able to speak, Callie Bennett, was adopted at 4 months old from Seoul, South Korea into the Navajo Nation. Her music is inspired by her family and her inherited Navajo/Diné culture. ​ In 2013, Callie’s first album entitled, 'Glorify' was nominated for Best Female Artist and Best Gospel/Inspirational Recording.  In 2017, Callie's single 'Awake Arise and Shine' was nominated for Best Female Artist and won for Best Gospel Inspirational Record. Callie is highly involved with her father’s ministry, a non-profit organization, Covenant of Faith, which is located on the Navajo Nation. She has taught youth groups, performed on the Trinity Broadcasting Television Network of Arizona, and continuously travels extensively with her Father, Ellson Bennett. Callie's heart is to reach out to all nations with encouragement, hope, faith, and love through her music.


Ellson Bennett

Ellson Bennett is a noted teacher and speaker who travels extensively throughout the United States and around the world. He is the Co-Founder of Covenant of Faith, a ministry of many outreaches devoted to meeting the needs of the Indigenous People of America and the world. Well-known for his balanced Biblical teaching, Ellson teaches through the extraordinary riches of his culture and travels from Indian Reservations to the Metropolitan. Teaching the uncompromised 'Word of God,' Ellson shares his inspiring messages of victory and faith and provides vivid illustrations from the Bible.  In 2017, Ellson and his family were adopted into the Lakota Nation with the Miniconjou Band, and he was given the name Wakiyan Ho' Was'te' meaning 'Good Voice Thunder'. Along with his ministry, he is also a renowned Native American Artist.  

DJ Shub

DJ Shub, born Dan General, is a DJ and music producer who has created a sound and experience all of his own. Considered to be the Godfather of PowWowStep, Shub who is Mohawk and a member of the Six Nations of the Grand River, continues to pioneer a growing genre of electronic music. His live show features a non-stop body-moving experience enhanced by traditional dancers in full regalia. He has won numerous awards for his work as a DJ and solo artist and as a former member of the group, A Tribe Called Red. Some of his accomplishments include; winning back-to-back Canadian titles and representing Canada at the world DJ finals, the COCA DJ of the Year, and a Juno Award in 2014. In 2017, Shub won Best Music Video from the Native American Music Awards for “Indomitable Ft. Northern Cree Singers.” The single went to #1 on Siriusxm radio’s Indigenous Music Countdown and the video was also nominated for a Much Music Video award.  


Innastate is a contemporary reggae band from the high-desert of New Mexico who have shared the stage with greats such as; the Wailers, Native Roots and Nahko. The group has quickly gained acclaim for their unique brand of modern reggae rock that honors their indigenous heritage. The band believes in the power of music to connect people, offering heartfelt songs that reflect on the human experience, spirituality and the environment.  Innastate members are; Adrian Wall of Jemez Pueblo (guitar/vocal), Rylan Kabotie of Santa Clara Pueblo/Jicarilla Apache (bass/vocal), Lawrence Bailon of Santa Clara Pueblo/Kewa Pueblo (drums), and Karlo Johnson of Isleta Pueblo (guitar). Their live lineup expands utilizing the talents of Romeo Alonzo (alto sax), MC T-Bone (trombone) and Mikey Jaramillo (percussionist). Their debut self-titled EP quickly earned them Artist of the Month  and Best Performance by an American Indian Band by Rockwired Magazine. The band's evolving sound and songwriting is now showcased on their newly nominated CD “Verde”.


Jamie Coon  

Jamie Coon’s music has been described as “Soul-Pop”. Winner of the Native American Music Awards Best Pop Recording in 2014, Jamie’s timeless quality of her music comes from a simple recipe of well-crafted, melodic songs performed with superb musicianship. The Oklahoma native who is Creek and Seminole grew up listening to Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin, Elton John and the Beatles. The result is an emotional musical ride, sometimes joyful, sometimes bittersweet, but always hopeful. Jamie’s songs have been featured in several films and on television including; ‘Deceit’ with Joe Pantoliano, the indie-comedy ‘Long-Term Relationship’ and on the Television series ‘Ghost Whisperer’ with Jennifer Love Hewitt. 


Joanne & Leah Shenandoah 

The Associated Press hailed Joanne Shenandoah as one of “America’s most celebrated and critically acclaimed Native American musicians of her time”.  Joanne has acquired a total of over 40 music awards; fifteen of which are from the Native American Music Awards including a Lifetime Achievement Award.  Joanne’s traditional and contemporary deliveries have ranged from solos to full symphonies throughout her twenty-two recordings. Joanne and her daughter, Leah, are direct descendents of the famed “Chief Shenandoah” who is noted to have been given a “Peace Medal” by George Washington. Joanne is a humanitarian at heart, working as a peace advocate while mesmerizing audiences all over the world with her vocal and musical talents.  Her daughter, Leah has performed with her mother throughout most of her life. In 2014, Leah recorded her debut album and won the Native American Music Awards Debut Artist of the Year. Leah thrives when creating from what she calls “divine inspiration” combining her inherent aesthetics with contemporary design. As Oneida Iroquois Wolf Clan members, their art is deeply rooted in their heritage.


Keith Secola

Keith Secola is considered an icon and ambassador of Native music and a songwriter of the people. Of the Anishinabe tribe, Keith is one of the most influential artists today. Critics have even dubbed him as a Native version of Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen. His most popular song, NDN Kars (Indian cars), is considered the contemporary Native American anthem, achieving legendary status and earning him a well deserved cult following. NDN Kars has been the number one requested song on tribal radio stations for over three decades. Keith is an accomplished artist, garnering awards and accolades as a musician, singer, songwriter, composer and producer. He is highly skilled with the guitar, flute, mandolin, banjo, harmonica, and piano.  Keith has toured the US and Europe and has played in venues from the halls of the Chicago Urban Indian Centre, to the walls of the Grand Canyon, and at the Olympic Games in Atlanta and Salt Lake City. Keith has won seven Native American Music Awards for a variety of categories and in 2011, he was inducted into the Native Music Hall of Fame.


Kelly Derrickson

Kelly is a First Nation artist from Westbank, British Columbia who is the daughter of Grand Chief Ronald Derrickson. What her father has worked to accomplish through leadership and politics, Kelly has worked to accomplish through music. Kelly, who earned her degree from the prestigious Berklee College of Music, has received multiple awards from various organizations throughout North America including NAMA’s  Best Female Artist for the past two consecutive years. Her songs are currently in rotation on Sirius XM Radio and on stations in North America.   Both she and her father continue to spend their lives working to advance the interests and improve conditions for indigenous people. Their concern for young people can be found in Suicide Song, co-written by both of them. Kelly’s I Am (Mother Nature) celebrates nature.  Idle No More is a bold statement against the pollution of Canada’s native lands, and her nominated song, “We Are Love” is rallying the hearts of her fans everywhere.


Shelley Morningsong & Fabian Fontenelle  

Shelley Morningsong is Northern Cheyenne and Dutch. She has recorded five sensational contemporary albums and has received three Native American music awards. With an alto voice that pulls from the depths of her cowboy boots, and songs with lyrics that cut to the heart, Shelley appeals to those who enjoy the music of both Buffy Sainte-Marie and Bonnie Raitt.  A master of the Native flute, Shelly performs skillful, heartfelt instrumentals on many of her compositions.

Shelley's husband and musical partner Fabian Fontenelle is Zuni and Omaha. He brings a breathtaking and beautiful element to their performance with his traditional northern plains style dancing, storytelling and drumming. Fabian is an original member of the American Indian Dance Theater and is the great, great Grandson of the famed Chief Big Elk of the Omaha people. With powerful dance performances intertwined with traditional storytelling, Fabian depicts a profound imagery and the spoken word of his ancestors in his Native Zuni Language. He has provided master-work choreography for Robert Mirabal’s PBS special, “Music from a Painted Cave” and has done consulting work and acting for the History Channel, and Stephen Spielberg’s Into the West as well as education for public schools and museums.


The Cody Blackbird Band 

The Cody Blackbird Band fuses traditional Native-American flute music with blues, heartland rock, and a multi-culti jam-band sensibility. Raw, honest, organic and indigenous, The Cody Blackbird Band features brothers Cody and Caleb Blackbird who are Dakota, Cherokee, and Romani gypsy.  The brothers set out to form a group that honors the sacred music of their ancestors, while infusing the revolution of rock and R&B into their unique style. Utilizing the haunting sounds of the traditional wooden flute and hide skin drum, Cody has become the Pied Piper for a new generation of listeners, while his brother Caleb keeps the heartbeat of the pow-wow inside all of their songs.  Cody’s voice ranges from the subtle intimacies of soft heartfelt poetry to the rough-edged sound of an experienced classic blues-rock powerhouse. Awarded Group of the Year in 2017 at the Native American Music Awards, the band has shared the bill with such artists as; The Black Eyed Peas, Michael Franti, and Nahko Bear. Their latest musical offering is produced by industry veteran Kenny Lee Lewis of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted Steve Miller Band.


The Ed Koban Group 

Each year, The Ed Koban Group serves as the official house band at the Native American Music Awards as they have for the past nine years. A talented and versatile group of musicians, EKG has helped make the Awards Ceremony a memorable and meaningful event for all artists and audiences alike. Like the waters that roar over the edge in his hometown of Niagara Falls, Ed Koban's music can be beautiful and evocative, raging and powerful. An artist not quite like any other, Ed's music defies categorization. He has released his own recordings and when not backing up artists at the Awards, he performs forefront center stage. He has shared the bill with groups such as: Foghat, Three Dog Night, Blackfoot, Molly Hatchet, Indigenous, Rusted Root, and has performed nationwide in venues like the Kennedy Center and at the 2002 Winter Olympics. As the awards’ houseband, he has performed with; Joanne Shenandoah, Janice Marie Johnson, Nokie Edwards, Gabriel Ayala, Tonemah, Jim Boyd, Keith Secola, and others. 


JR Redwater 

As an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, JR Redwater is like a jolt of comedy lightning! JR takes audiences by storm with his fearless style of raw comedy. They call him the “Reservation Sensation” for good reason; he is one of the most requested comedians in Indian Country today. “JR’s pain is the audience’s gain” as he spins the bitter hardships of reservation life into huge laughs. This master storyteller delivers wall-to-wall comedy that connects with audiences of all ages and backgrounds. He was featured on Showtime’s “Native American Comedy Jam”, and shined and he has released his own solo comedy special, “Full Blooded Hilarious”.  JR’s CDs can be found on itunes, bandcamp and his live performances can be seen across North America at Casinos, Clubs, Universities, Conferences and more!


Special Honors 


Legend Award To John Gourley and Zachary Carothers of Portugal. the Man

John Gourley and Zachary Carothers are the founding members of the highly successful group, Portugal The Man. Their friendship goes back to high school in Wasilla, Alaska. The band resides in Portland, Oregon and features Gourley as singer-guitarist and Carothers on bass, along with Kyle O'Quin, Jason Sechrist, Eric Howk, and background singer Zoe Manville. The group;s first record to chart on Billboard 200 was The Satanic Satanist, in 2009. The band re-emerged in 2017 with the self-produced Woodstock named in honor of the 1969 festival. In 2018, the band won Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for their song "Feel It Still" at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards. Their acceptance speech was dedicated to the Native youth in the remote villages of Shishmaref, Barrow and Bethel, Alaska. Their continued support of America’s Indigenous People was extended throughout their 2018 national tour by dedicating the opening portion of their set with performances and speeches by local tribal artists, tribal leaders, and activists. Hundreds of thousands of people heard these powerful and reaffirming Land Acknowledgements and shared in the celebration of these cultures. PTM posted on social media, “Recognize and respect! Honor the Indigenous Peoples of your home and everywhere else. Learn and remember the traditional name of the land you’re on and show respect and gratitude to the first people who call it home.” In 2019, PTM released a video entitled, “Land Acknowledgement” highlighting their national tour that honored  the First Nations people of that land. 


Hall Of Fame Induction of Wes Studi

Wesley Studi is a highly respected and internationally acclaimed actor. He has appeared in more than 80 film and television productions including; Geronimo: An American Legend (1993), Heat (1995) Skinwalkers (2002),  Avatar (2009) and most recently, Hostiles (2017). Last year, he appeared on the 90th Annual Academy Awards and spoke in his native Cherokee language. This October, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences is bestowing him with a Governors Award, making him the very first Native American actor to receive an Oscar. Wes Studi has lead the film and television industry as the greatest and most accurate Native American actor to date. He has also lead the public to greater understanding of Native culture. His roles have been described as; intense, heroic, even villainous but he has always remained consistently accurate and authentic in his screen portrayals. Wes is also a musician. In 1995, he formed his own band called Firecat of Discord. The band's repertoire was shaped by each songwriter's distinct musical personality with Wes’ own influence of Folk Rock and a touch of the Blues. As a frequent guest, musician and host of the Native American Music Awards, we are truly honored and grateful for his presence and participation. He is the ultimate role model for all of Indian Country, especially to our children and to all other indigenous actors around the world. Wes Studi has made us all proud.