Rock Musicians You Did Not Know Have Indigenous Backgrounds

Celebrating National Indigenous Month

June is National Indigenous Month. It’s all about honouring the history, heritage, and diversity of Indigenous peoples in Canada. You can learn more about their stories, traditions, and culture here.

In the meantime, we thought this would be an opportune time to share some information about the artists we play on Rock 95 who have Indigenous ties.

The Band – Robbie Robertson

Robbie Robertson is Canadian and First Nations. His mother was raised on the Six Nations of the Grand River, near Brantford. Robertson spent many summers there as a youth where he was schooled in the ancient wonders and enduring responsibilities of his heritage.


YouTube / Chris Awad

Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix’s grandmother was Cherokee, a heritage Hendrix’s family continues to celebrate.


YouTube / Jimi Hendrix

The Tragically Hip’s Gord Downie

He was heavily involved in Indigenous history. Gord Downie and his brother Mike, with the Wenjack family, founded the Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Fund to support reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. The fund is a large part of Downie’s legacy and commitment to Canada’s First Peoples. Chanie Wenjack was a young indigenous boy who tried to escape a residential school, but died trying. Downie’s ‘Secret Path Project’ is based on this story. Downie was honoured with an eagle feather, a symbol of the creator above, for all of his support of the Indigenous peoples of Canada. He was also given an honorary aboriginal name, Wicapi Omani, which is Lakota for “man who walks among the stars”.


YouTube / GordDownieVideos

Jackson Browne

Jesse Edwin Davis, the guitarist for Jackson Browne, was a Native American. His dad’s ancestry was a blend of Comanche, Seminole, and Muscogee (Creek), and his mother was a Kiowa. He was also inducted into the Native American Music Hall Of Fame.


YouTube / Jackson Browne

Ozzy Osbourne

Ozzy Osbourne’s drummer, Randy Castillo, had native ancestry. Randy Castillo was a mixed-race Apache Native American. He was a drummer for Moltey Crue as well.


YouTube / Ozzy Osbourne

Main Image via Twitter / @gorddownie