(Mexican) Native American Rock Band
A red bone with two feathers attached.
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How to Cite

Kuhn, J. (2022). (Mexican) Native American Rock Band: Redbone, Racial Legibility, and Native-Chicanx Intimacy. American Studies, 61(1). Retrieved from https://journals.ku.edu/amsj/article/view/13605

Abstract

Redbone, an eminently successful 1970s Native American rock band, emerged in conversation with the cultural nationalist movements that produced what would become Native American and Indigenous studies and Chicanx studies. In addition to being Native, Pat and Lolly Vegas and other members of the band were all also Mexican American, and their mixed racial heritages trouble their racial legibility within both the public sphere and scholarly paradigms. This article uses intimacy as a framework for re-thinking Native-Chicanx relations through an investigation of Pat Vegas’s memoir, Come and Get Your Love: A Celebratory Ode to Redbone, and Redbone’s music, lyrics, and album liner notes. This article argues that the case of Redbone reveals glimpses of long, continual histories of intimacy between Native Americans and Mexican Americans. These intimacies are illegible within both popular and scholarly discourse due to oppressive demands for racial and cultural purity that delimit Native American identity and the nationalist orientations of Native studies and Chicanx studies. By turning to intimacy to understand the messiness of everyday lived experience, this article intervenes into ongoing debates about Native-Chicanx relationality in ethnic studies and critical Latinx Indigeneities scholarship.

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