20 Native American Rockers That We’re Thankful For This Thanksgiving

  • Jimi Hendrix

    [Photo Credit: Getty Images]

  • Elvis Presley

    [Photo Credit: Getty Images]

  • James Brown

    [Photo Credit: Getty Images]

  • Redbone

    [Photo Credit: Getty Images]

  • Robbie Robertson (the Band)

    [Photo Credit: Getty Images]

  • Link Wray

    [Photo Credit: Getty Images]

  • Michael Jackson

    [Photo Credit: Getty Images]

  • Blackfoot

    [Photo Credit: Getty Images]

  • Chuck Billy (Testament)

    [Photo Credit: Getty Images]

  • Mike Patton of Faith No More

    [Photo Credit: Getty Images]

  • Tori Amos

    [Photo Credit: Getty Images]

  • Joey Belladonna (Anthrax)

    [Photo Credit: Getty Images]

  • Ben Harper

    [Photo Credit: Getty Images]

  • Jimmy Carl Black (Frank Zappa & The Mothers Of Invention)

    [Photo Credit: Getty Images]

  • Willy Deville

    [Photo Credit: Getty Images]

  • Blackfire

    [Photo Credit: Blackfire.net]

  • Rita Coolidge

    [Photo Credit: Getty Images]

  • Debora Iyall (Romeo Void)

    [Photo Credit: Getty Images]

  • Cher

    [Photo Credit: Getty Images]

  • Jesse Ed Davis

    [Photo Credit: Neil Zlozower]

Thanksgiving provides United States citizens with a shared moment to express gratitude for the positive aspects of living here in general, but also to acknowledge, in a very specific way, the irreparable debt every one of us owes to the Native American peoples and their culture.

Straightaway, there’s the fact that Squanto and his fellow Patuxet tribesmen saved and selflessly taught the Pilgrims how to survive in the New World. After centuries of countless other contributions from there, let’s take today to honor how more recent givers of Native American descent have enriched American rock and pop music.   

Rock’s roots as American music pulsate with indigenous sounds and Native soul, from outspokenly indigenous-minded bands such as Redbone, Blackfoot, and Blackfire to group members such as Faith No More frontman Mike Patton, Anthrax singer Joey Belladonna and Frank Zappa drummer Jimmy Carl Black. Even superstars on the order of Elvis Presley, Jimi Hendrix, and James Brown have descended from tribal ancestors.

Here are twenty musicians of Native American descent for whom we give thanks during this Thanksgiving season. Grab a drumstick and honor them by pounding it harder than Plymouth Rock.

Mike McPadden is the author of the book "HEAVY METAL MOVIES: Guitar Barbarians, Mutant Bimbos, and Cult Zombies Amok in the 666 Most Ear- and Eye-Ripping Big Scream Films Ever!" (Bazillion Points, 2014).