AIS 320 American Indian Music

SFSU Spring 2017 Semester

AIS 320.1 American Indian Music

  • Class Number: 9617
  • Fridays, 1:10-3:55, CA 152
  • Class Attributes: Upper Division, UD-C: Arts and/or Humanities, SF State Studies: Amer Ethnic & Racial Minorities, SF State Studies: Social Justice



Relationships among music, cultural perspectives, and collective and individual selves of American Indians, Alaskan Natives, and Native Hawaiians.



The goal of this class is to expose the student to American Indian musics with special emphasis on the musical styles of the intertribal pow-wow. Previous musical experience is not required. We will focus primarily on the Northern Plains style of pow-wow singing as it relates to the contemporary urban intertribal pow-wow. The class will be structured in the following manner:


1.) Exploration of American Indian pow-wow histories and worldviews

Goals: Illuminate the historical movement and cultural significance of the pow-wow over time and as experienced in different regional locations


2.) American Indian Pow-wow Music

Goals: Learn to identify and perform a minimum of 10 Northern Plains pow-wow songs; Analyze and identify corresponding pow-wow dance styles


3.) Transculturation of American Indian musics

Goals: Examine the movement of intertribal pow-wow music in the present moment to other genres including jazz, rap, and EDM; Analyze methods and rationale used by American Indian popular musical artists in the production of their work



Perea, John-Carlos. 2013. Intertribal Native American Music in the United States. Global Music Series. New York: Oxford University Press.