TitleWORD: Hip-Hop, Language, and Indigeneity in the Americas
Publication TypeArticle
Year of Publication2015
AuthorNavarro, Jenell
Newspaper/MagazineCritical Sociology
CityThousand Oaks, CA
Publication LanguageEnglish
KeywordsIndigenous, Language, Post-Racial
Copies at the Archive1

Indigenous hip-hop artists throughout the Americas are currently challenging cultural genocide and contemporary post-racial discourse by utilizing ancestral languages in hip-hop cultural production. While the effects of settler colonialism and white supremacy have been far-reaching genocidal projects throughout the Americas, one primary site of resistance has been language. Artists such as Tall Paul (Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe), Tolteka (Mexica), and Los Nin (Quecha), who rap in Ojibwe, Nahuatl, and Kichwa respectively, trouble the pervasive structure of U.S. cultural imperialism that persists throughout the Americas. As a result, Indigenous hip-hop is a medium to engage the process of decolonization by 1) disseminating a conscious pan-indigeneity through lyricism and alliance building, 2) retaining and teaching Indigenous languages in their songs, and 3) implementing a radical orality in their verses that revitalizes both Indigenous oral traditions/ storytelling and the early message rap of the 1970s and 1980s.