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The Thunder Bird Sisters and the Shinnecock Indian Nation

Native American | 2012

The end of the twentieth century brought a renewed interest and revival of Native American music in the U.S. The Thunder Bird Sisters, from the Shinnecock Indian Nation on Long Island, have been composing and performing music since the early 1970s. The group consists of cousins Becky, Holly, Tina, and brother Ben, who are grandchildren of Henry F. Bess, known as Chief Thunder Bird, the ceremonial leader of the Shinnecock tribe’s postwar cultural revival. The Thunder Bird Sisters have an extensive history of live performances at many music festivals, powwows, and concert halls, and they have taken part in benefit concerts in support of human rights, indigenous rights, protecting the environment, alternative education, cultural preservation, and peace. They performed at the Black Hills Survival gathering in 1981, provided backup vocals for Bonnie Raitt and Jackson Browne, and recorded two CDs of mostly original music, Still Singin’ and Upon the Smoke. The Thunder Bird Sisters received the Native American Music Award – Best Folk/Country in 2000 for Still Singin’.

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