NIAGARA FALLS, NY – The Native American Music Awards (NAMA) will return on Saturday, November 19, 2022 at the Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino in Niagara Falls, NY. This will be the organization’s 20th awards event. Commemorating Native American National Heritage Month, the host of the 20th annual awards ceremony will be actor Robert Mesa (Navajo/ Soboba) who recently played the character of James Chee, the first Native American doctor on Grey’s Anatomy.
Oren Lyons will be recognized as a living legend. Lyons, 92, is the Guardian of the Faith of the Turtle Clan, Onondaga Nation. He is an artist, speaker, author and environmental activist for Indigenous peoples around the world and holds the title of Wisdom Keeper. He has advocated at the United Nations for the recognition of indigenous rights and addressed the United Nations General Assembly. He is also a member of the All-American Lacrosse Hall of Famer and Honorary Chairman of the Haudenosaunee Nationals Lacrosse Program.
This year’s Hall of Fame inductee will be Grammy Award-winning Micki Free, winner of multiple Native American music awards of Comanche and Cherokee ancestry. Originally discovered and managed by Gene Simmons of KISS, Free was the guitarist for the R&B group, Shalamar, which recorded platinum-selling songs such as “Dancing In The Sheets” from the film’s soundtrack. Free from all tiesand won a Grammy for “Don’t Get Stopped In Beverly Hills” from Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack. Free is currently on tour in support of their latest album, Turquoisewhich includes members of the Santana Band, Steve Stevens of Billy Idol and Gary Clark Jr.
Paul LaRoche of Brule/AIRO and Robert Tree Cody will be honored as recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award. LaRoche is the founding member of Brulé, the epic Native American rock show. Brule’ has won eight Native American Music Awards, released 20 CDs and sold over one million CDs worldwide. Cody is a five-time Native American Music Award winner and a multi-talented flautist, singer, dancer, actor, and educator. He has released 13 albums.
This year’s featured artists will include several nominees – Antoine Edwards Jr., Cody Blackbird, Earl Slick and the Fabulous Ripcords, Fawn Wood, Gunner Jules, Spur Pourier, Sten Joddi and The Halluci Nation. Guest nominees will include Ava Rose, Blanca Iris Acuna, Blue Flamez, Blue Mountain Tribe, Crazy Flute, Darren Thompson, Dr. April Lea Go Forth, Faran Sohappy, Gera & TM Clark, JUQ, Julian Taylor, Kelly Derrickson, Kelly Montijo Fink , Irv Lyons Jr., Melody McArthur, Raven Flyinghorse, Sandra Sutter, Savelle The Native, The Johnnys, Shibastik, Shiloh Ashley, Tess Remy-Schumacher, Twice As Good, Two Shields and Yvonne St. Germaine.
A new partnership with the BMI Foundation will create a career scholarship for a Native American songwriter or composer. Known as the BMI Foundation Rising Star Award, this new program will honor a music creator in the Rising Star category for emerging and promising artists. The recipient of this award will receive the $2,500 grant.