Cultural Preservation and Mentorship Through Music
Alongside her career as a recording artist and songwriter Martha Redbone has maintained a steady involvement with causes she believes in utilizing her celebrity in Indian Country for fundraising and leadership.
Ms. Redbone holds an annual Traditional Music Workshop within the United Houma Nation’s Cultural Enrichment Summer Camp program teaching grade school age children the music from her Choctaw and Cherokee heritage as well as incorporating the tribe’s own Houma-French language.
Martha has given talks on subjects ranging from Indigenous rights to the role of arts in politics at many institutions including New York University, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and on Native Identity during the Native Theater Festival at the Public Theater in NYC. Her album “Skintalk” is part of the permanent collection at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian as an example of contemporary Native American music. She is featured in NMAI’s current exhibit “Up Where We Belong- Native Americans in Popular Culture”.
Ms. Redbone has also held workshops and given motivational talks with many grade school children throughout her touring on reservations at Red Lake, MN, Cherokee, NC, Yuma AZ and Menominee WI, to name a few.
Having served as an exemplary ambassador to Native and African-American Youth for the National HIV/Aids Partnership, which also included dedicating several morning TV appearances to the cause, Martha was awarded the Red Ribbon Award for Outstanding Leadership presented on World AIDS Day at the United Nations in 2005.
After Hurricanes Katrina and Rita ravaged the communities of the United Houma Nation on the Gulf Coast, Martha single-handedly helped generate publicity that raised over $30,000. This included dedicating radio and television appearances in Europe and the US to raise awareness about the needs of the forgotten tribes on the Gulf Coast. Redbone also performed with Bonnie Raitt and actor Floyd Red Crow Westerman, which helped raise over $130,000 in scholarships for the Clyde Bellecourt Scholarship Fund where 12 outstanding Native American students who have overcome adversity receive full tuition to study in higher education.