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Native American music is the music that is used, created or performed by Native North Americans, specifically traditional tribal music. In addition to the traditional music of the Native American groups, there now exist pan-tribal and inter-tribal genres as well as distinct Native American subgenres of popular music including: rock, blues, hip hop, classical, film music and reggae, as well as unique popular styles like waila (“chicken scratch”).
Music and history are tightly interwoven in Native American life. A tribe’s history is constantly told and retold through music, which keeps alive an oral narrative of history. These historical narratives vary widely from tribe to tribe, and are an integral part of tribal identity. However, their historical authenticity cannot be verified; aside from supposition and some archaeological evidence, the earliest documentation of Native American music came with the arrival of European explorers.