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A NON PROFIT 501(c)(3)

The Native American Music Association was established in 1998 as a 501c3 surrounding the debut of the Awards program. The Association celebrates the rich music heritage of the nation's first people by educating the public. The organization is committed to preserving Native American music culture and promoting cultural renewal through music. The organization also responds to Call to Actions from various tribal communities for; suicide prevention awareness, emergency heat, Christmas toy drives, and music instruments for veterans with PTSD. Below is information on three gofundme campaigns in support of our multiple award winning artists in need.


Help Richard Steward, of the award-winning music duo Twice As Good.  Richard had an unfortunate accident on Monday January 22nd and wrecked his vehicle, a Chevrolet Express Van, totaling it. It was Twice As Good's tour van.  Not only did he lose his vehicle but he injured his eye in the accident and has suffered trauma.

Richard is a humble musician and needs help paying for medical costs, and costs to pay off the van associated with towing it and writing it off. His insurance won't cover it all and he's left with a debt.

Richard and his family are asking for sympathy and any help or donations you could provide to get us through this difficult time. Richard needs to heal and we need to get another vehicle.

You can help Richard through a Gofundme campaign at:


Award winner Charly Lowry, the lead singer of Dark Water Rising, is in need of a kidney transplant. Charly's kidney function is diminishing due to a rare auto-immune disorder called IGA Nephropathy. In 2009, Charly found herself in imminent threat, needing dialysis. 

Due to the nature of this degenerative disorder, her numbers place her again in a critical position, currently with <5% kidney function. Currently, Charly travels to a local clinic, three days a week and four hours at a time, to receive hemodialysis. She is on the donor's list, but there is no way of knowing when her name will rise to the top of that list. We are reaching out to our community to find a living donor and every donation, how big or how small, we believe can make a difference in expediting Charly's road to recovery.

Those close to Charly have started a gofundme campaign for her at:

Award winner Joanne Shenandoah is in need of a liver transplant.  While the doctors say that she will still need a transplant and is on the “list”, she is considered in-active because she does not live within a 6 hour drive. Also, her meld score has improved through vibration of song, intent, prayer and continued meditation – which currently makes her ineligible. Joanne is still in need of catching up financially. Might you consider making a donation toward Joanne's continued medical expenses. She is very grateful for all who have come to support her. Life continues to be a blessing for her.She believes more than ever now that through our compassion and intent of well-being to one another and the natural world we can bring healing through music!!


Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient, Multiple Award winner, and Grammy nominee and winner, Joseph FireCrow has lost his battle with  Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. He was on the waiting list for a bilateral lung transplant.  Joseph and his wife Joann faced numerous costs for his hospitilization, treatments, housing, surgery, and required travel and accommodations.  We thank all our members who came to their assistance.  Joseph has now journeyed to the Spirit World. 

May his journey be blessed by the creator. 

Joseph's award-winning music can be purchased at
         ,, or at

                    or purchase some of his songs below  

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The Native American Music Association


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A Non-Profit 501(c)(3)

Native America is a culture and a people deeply stemmed and intertwined in music since the onset of their existence. There is a song for every aspect of their lives; ceremonials, sports and dance to courting, birth and death. As a people, they have survived incredible oppression Today, they celebrate their survival through music and dance. With the increasing popularity of today's Native American music, the Native American Music Association are helping Native societies transform as their music provides a continuing capacity for community renewal and cultural enrichment.


Ellen Bello,   Rose Fernandez, Andy Anderson, Leon Thompson (Yaqui),
Kim Acosta (Ojibwa), Joseph Bello, James Bordeaux (Sicangu Lakota Oyate),
John Frazier (Ogalala Lakota), Felipe Rose (Taino),
Kelvin Frank (Muckleshoot), Michael Kickingbear (Mashantucket Pequot)

Over 200 Advisory Board Members

Over 20,000 registered online Voting Members

"The music of the Indian is the spontaneous and sincere expression of the soul of a people.
It springs from our own continent, and is thus, of all music, distinctly American. 
If Indian song be encouraged with Indian, and recognition of it awakened among our own people,
America may one day contribute a unique music to the world of art."

- Natalie Curtis, Musicologist

"...a charm of spontaneity that cannot fail to please those who would come near to nature
and enjoy the expression of emotion untrammeled by the intellectual control of schools."

- Alice Fletcher, Anthropologist


The Native American Music Association is the world’s leading resource for Native American music. USA Today has urged the national public to “take us seriously” and the New York Times has credited NAMA founder, Ellen Bello's life's devotion "to bringing indigenous music to the world's consciousness”.

The Native American Music Association (N.A.M.A.) was established in 1998 as a 501(c)(3) surrounding the national debut of the Native American Music Awards in order to celebrate the rich musical heritage of first nation's people while educating the general public.

Our organization remains committed to preserving Native American culture and promoting cultural renewal through both traditional and contemporary music initiatives. Our organization has also grown  to respond to  Call to Actions from various communities including; emergency heat efforts for low income families, annual toy drives for impovershed children, providing musical instruments for those who have served our country, and national suicide prevention awareness campaigns. 


Nominees and winners of the 16th Annual Native American Music Awards have donated their songs to two free compilation CDs entitled, Water is Life I and Water Is Life II, in support of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe's efforts to protect their land, and water  from the Dakota Access Pipeline. The free CDs, feature a variety of artist contributions from Nominees and Winners from all tribal nations and music styles.  For a link to the free CD click here:


FREE WINNERS CD Various Artists

This Cd features Award winners of the 16th Annual Native American Music Awards.The CD is available to radio station programmers by request. You can listen for free right here at this link.


Suicide is no stranger to Native Youth. Reservation youth suicide is at an epidemic rate and mong the highest in our country.  Our nominees and winners serve as positive role models for our youth.  Following the lead of two -time NAMA Award winner Nake Nula Waun (Rosebud Sioux), NAMA makes a major show of support and strength by giving our recording artists  a yellow suicide prevention awareness bracelet during their on-stage appearance at our Annual Awards ceremony.  Additionally, NAMA has begun recording a series of PSA's on Suicide Prevention to distribute as a public service to reservation radio stations across the country.

NAMA visits and entertains sick children undergoing treatments for life-threatening illnesses at local children's hospitals in and around New York City..Intended as a healing program for children and their families, "Let The Children Play," presents a a fun and entertaining Native American musical experience for these ailing children.  Each Christmas, NAMA also holds a toy drive campaign to provides Christmas toys for underprivilidged children including the 7,500 toddlers and children ages 1 - 18 on the Rosebud Sioux reservation in South Dakota. NAMA has also produced a Native American  educational festival featuring: storytelling, horseback riding, birds of prey, bow and arrow shooting, tipi painting, music concerts and much more for children.


NAMA Living Legend Award recipients, the Navajo Code talkers were first awarded by the Native American Music Awards in 1999.  From the Code Talkers to Iwo Jima's Flag Raiser, Ira Hamilton Hayes, and the late PFC Lori Piestewa, the first Native American woman to die in combat on foreign soil in Iraq , NAMA continues to honor our veterans past and present.  In coooperation with Operation Music Aid, NAMA is providing musical instruments to wounded Veterans.  Native Americans share a proud history in serving our country. 
According to the Department of Defense, American Indians and Alaska Natives have one of the highest representations in the armed forces. In conjunction with Operation Music Aid, based in Madison, Connecticut, and  founded to supply guitars and keyboards to wounded military service personnel now in military hospitals for extended care, NAMA has been providing free instruments and Native American Music Cds to Native American veterans including those suffering from PTSD.


The Native American Music Association, lead a national effort in Winter 2008 - 2009 to provide emergency heating assistance for the Elders, children, the disabled, and the sick on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. In early November '08, a severe blizzard throughout South Dakota knocked over 1,000 power lines down, created 20 foot snow drifts, and left residents of Pine Ridge burning their furniture and melting snow as their only source of heat and fresh water. This blizzard which was reported as South Dakota's worst in 60 years, arrived early for the Winter Season with brutally cold months from January to March where tempatures go below 0. A second blizzard with wind up to 80mph and 8 to 30 inches of snow arrived on Pine Ridge on March 23 and March 24th leaving many more in need of emergency heat and utilities. N.A.M.A. continued to call upon its international membership to make donations in order to purchase and provide emergency heating assistance determined by the needs reported to each local Community Action Program office (CAP) throughout all nine districts of the reservation. N.A.M.A. also built its own task force in South Dakota to monitor and assist in filing emergency applications for those most in need of heat.  Over $15,000.00 in propane gas, electric heat and fire wood was provided and distributed.  

In the past 16 years, members of this all-volunteer Association have celebrated and shared many other successes;

-We have received letters of acknowledgement from President George Bush and a proclamation from Mayor Bloomberg.

-As part of our annual monitoring and research of Native American music recordings, we successfully proposed a new category for Native American music in the Grammies in 2000 which was recreated as an American “Roots” category in 2011 which we serve on the committee for.

-We have trained Native American youth in concert events and productions

-Established a cultural diversity program to recruit Native American employees at MTV Networks

-Educated and entertained employees of parent company, Viacom with music programs

-Placed Native artists in collaborations with mainstream artists

-Helps to commemorate National Native American Heritage Month as proclaimed by the President of the United States each November

-Returned a lost song of the late Apache leader, Geronimo, back to his family

-Provided emergency over $15,000 in emergency heat (proprane, electric heat, and/or firewood) in freezing tempatures for in over 150 sub standard homes on the Pine Ridge Reservation during their worst snow storm in 60 years.

-Provided toys for children on the Rosebud Reservation at Christmas time

-Continue to present special music concerts and festivals from Alaska to New York City and in between.

-Our national music archive (listed as PDF files) below) has become the world's largest Native American music archive with over 10.000 Native American audio and video recordings in all formats housed since 1990.


When the Native American Music Association was first formed, it was with a hope that one day Native Americans in the United States could receive equal recognition as musicians. We are suceeding.  Until our organization, the music of Native Americans remained hidden from the mainstream. N.A.M.A. provides the needed inspiration for those who remain isolated on reservations who want to share the gift of music with the world. Today, The Native American Music Association is the largest & only professional membership based organization for the advancement of Native American music initiatives & expressions across the country and around the globe.

Originally traditional music  was an integral part of Native American life and tribal identity, such as; round dance songs and flute music , Native American music has grown to encompass many contemporary genres such as; rock, pop, blues, hip hop, country, and new age as well as have created some unique genres that remain distinctly indigenous such as; Waila or Chicken scratch, and Native American church music.

For the past 16 years, we have produced the various programs including the country’s greatest celebration of Native American music, the Native American Music Awards. Our programs honor our Native song makers, foster pride in our First Nations young people, and provide national and international exposure, celebrating our gifts of musical expression with others around the world. We create additional opportunities for our Award winning artists to serve as important role models for our Native American youth, inspiring them to follow their dreams, to be successful, to lead healthy lives for future generations.

Today, we are the World's Leading Resource for Contemporary and Traditional Native American Music Initiatives consisting of over 200 Advisory members and 20,000 registered voting members.  Our Association promotes diversity and celebrates the rich cultural heritage of our nation’s first people on a national and growing global level. Our organization is committed to preserving Native American culture and continuing the traditions of our ancestors through traditional and contemporary music initiatives and programs. Native American Music is strong and alive and we remain the only legitimate and professional organization exclusively committed to preserving and promoting Native American music today. We acquire approximately 150 to 200 recording entries each and every year. We showcase over 30 different Native American music genres each year at our annual Awards ceremony while adding new categories when necessary. The Native American Music Awards celebrates a cultural revival through those that have preserved, adapted and prospered in the fields of traditional and contemporary musical excellence.





The Native American Music Association, a 501(c)(3) organization preserves and promotes the rich oral history of Native America. Used in all aspects of life, music and song marked every public event and private occasion in American Indian life. Historical information, lineage, stories and tales were passed from generation to generation through song. But traditional Native American music is becoming lost forever. For the true generations that can preserve the stories and the songs, they are the oldest – the elders – who comprise a population that is steadily dwindling. With the loss of elders also comes the loss of language, cultural traditions and an important part of our own history, the oral history of the First Americans. Native Americans also suffer twice the proportions of unemployment, poverty, and alcohol related deaths than the national average. Native youth face immense pressures, challenges and limited opportunities.  For those that overcome the immense obstacles they face, they are empowering themselves and rejuvenating their culture through contemporary music initiatives.


With it’s roots firmly planted in traditions hundreds of years old, music and song were, and still are, an integral part of Native American life. Without a written language, care was taken to transmit songs accurately, from generation to generation. As part of this nation’s folklife, the early fieldwork of scholars, anthropologists, and ethnomusicologists proved that traditional music was just as emotional, complex and cultivated as any other modern art form. The drum is considered the heartbeat of all that is. Other natural instruments such as; Rattle, Whistle, Cowhorn, Flute, and Bells, whether given by the “Creator” or made by skilled craftsman, facilitated a symbolism of sound and image and an interaction and relationship to all parts of the living world. As Native American music evolves, artists compensate their lost nature world using European-influenced and electric recreating earth sounds. Like the tradition keepers of ancient times, today’s musicians still can offer their communities the capacity for cultural renewal and tribal enrichment.

The arts are rich and inexhaustible resources which help our young people learn and grow in healthy ways. Music is one of the most important forms of self-expression which can help young people cope with difficult feelings. Through new music initiatives, Native youth are building resiliency, increasing their ability to express their emotions, and learning to manage their feelings in healthy ways. Together the Association & Awards continues to provide the needed hope and assistance for these individuals to become great catalysts for change.

Join us in preserving the history and heritage of Native American for all of America through our arts and education programs.




While there are many concerns to face these days that are specific to government, state, or region, there are certain issues that affect all Native communities throughout the United States. Native peoples suffer from high rates of poverty and unemployment.Throughout history the territorial dispossession of indigenous peoples has gone hand in hand with natural resource exploitation. Native women and children suffer from an epidemic of violence. Many Native Americans live on reservations in substandard housing. Many suffer from high rates of diabetes, obesity, substance abuse. Native languages are struggling to survive. Today, from the Dakota Access Pipeline in the U.S. to the Tar Sands in Canada, Indian nations are standing on the front lines of opposition to hydraulic fracturing and pipelines that are violating treaty rights, threatening the environment and contributing to climate change in the process.


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