Have you ever wondered what the Native American perspective is of the song, “America the Beautiful?” Here is your chance to find out.
The song’s original lyrics sing the praises of the natural beauty of this continent, referring to it as wilderness. There is no mention of the original inhabitants.
My Native American friend, songwriter Tia Shawnté, wrote “Native Son” in 1990 for Mother Earth, set to the melody of “America the Beautiful.’
She has performed the song across the United States and the mayor of Austin, Texas declared February 4 as Tia Shawnté Day. She has just released a music video of the song, which you can watch below.
From the video notes on YouTube: “Native Son” is a music video tribute to Mother Earth, told from a Native American perspective.
Tia Shawnté is the creator of “Native Son” and vocalist. Tia is Native American. Her grandmother was an original enrollee of the Chickasaw tribe.
Tia’s mother was half-Chickasaw and half-English and was not allowed to learn her native language in the boarding schools she attended.
Tia created “Native Son” while she was living in Nashville, where a large corporation was going to build a landfill on American Indian burial sites. Tia was greatly saddened and led to write Native Son as a Native American and environmental plea for justice.