The 2021 Pop Convergence: A Virtual Pop Conference, April 22-25th
Artwork by Alex Nero; Design by The Art Dictator
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Saturday, April 24 • 11:30am - 12:45pm
Pop Musicking and Survivance in Native North Pacific Communities (Room B: Oscillator)

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Pop Musicking and Survivance in Native North Pacific Communities (Room B: Oscillator)

A growing community of scholars working with, by, and for Native North Pacific communities are rethinking the role of pop musicking in ongoing Indigenous-led self-determination movements. This roundtable focuses on community-based music projects with Quinault, Colville, and Yakama Nations, all of whom serve as stewards to the lands and waters currently known as Washington State. We seek to expand current understandings of survivance -- coined by Anishinaabe literary theorist Gerald Vizenor to better account for praxes of “survival” and “creative continuance” (1994, 2008) -- to account for the significance of Indigenous aurality, orality, and musicality. Our roundtable responds to the following three questions:

  • What is the role of pop music in Indigenous survivance? 
  • How do Native pop musicians sound and relate to ongoing colonial precarities?
  • How are musicking projects for the Quinault, Colville, and Yakama Nations offering new ways forward to (re)imagine futures otherwise?   

Jessica Bissett Perea (Dena’ina) serves as the roundtable chair and offers introductions to our larger themes/questions.

SimHayKin Swawilla Jack (San Poil/Nez Perce/Moses-Columbia/Nespelem/Lakota) discusses her work as an immersion language teacher at the Salish School of Spokane, where she develops multimedia (print, audiovisual, digital, performance) materials to advance language learning and retention. She considers the significance of Indigenizing top 40 karaoke songs and performance as a tool for Nsilxcín (Colville-Okanagan) language resurgence.

Tory Johnston (Quinault) is an emerging musician-scholar working on the significance of collaborative composition as a community building project that can center Quinault approaches (theories, methods, and praxes) to productively bridge ecomusicology with tribal resource management. He explains how Quinault musicking is water-centered, or hydrological, and how we can listen to collaborative compositions as forms of sovereignty.

Jack Flesher describes his work with Music Alive! in the Yakama Valley (MAYV), which is an ongoing, collaborative project in the UW School of Music that engages in cross-cultural community work through music education. As a member of the MAYV team, Jack works to facilitate collective songwriting workshops for students at the Yakama Nation Tribal School. These workshops aim to empower Native youth to explore their identities through music and create their own songs to express self-determined tribal and cultural values.

John-Carlos Perea (Mescalero Apache/German/Irish/Chicano) serves as the roundtable respondent and offers questions/comments for future directions and facilitate Q&A with attendees.

avatar for Jessica Bissett Perea (Dena’ina)

Jessica Bissett Perea (Dena’ina)

Dr. Jessica Bissett Perea (Dena’ina) is an interdisciplinary musician-scholar whose Indigenous-led and Indigeneity-centered work advances radical and relational ways of being, knowing, and doing to generate more just futures for Indigenous communities. She is a double bassist and... Read More →
avatar for John-Carlos Perea (Mescalero Apache, Irish, Chicano, German)

John-Carlos Perea (Mescalero Apache, Irish, Chicano, German)

John-Carlos Perea is a GRAMMY® Award winning multi-instrumentalist and recording artist in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has recorded on eighteen albums as a sideman and two as a leader, First Dance (2001) and Creation Story (2014). His first album of solo cedar flute songs will... Read More →


SimHayKin Swawilla Jack (San Poil/Nez Perce/Moses-Columbia/ Nespelem/Lakota)

SimHayKin Swawilla Jack (Nez Perce/San Poil/Moses/Lakota) is a PhD candidate in Native American Studies at UC Davis whose research advances language resurgence as/in/with her home community, the Colville Confederated Tribes. Her dissertation, “A History of Language Policy and Practice... Read More →

Tory Johnston (Quinault)

Tory Johnston (Quinault) is a PhD student in Native American Studies at UC Davis. Informed by his ancestral connection to the shoreline of the Pacific Northwest, he seeks to explore Indigenous approaches to sound and music studies. His research interests include Quinault/Indigenous... Read More →

Jack Flesher

Jack Flesher is a white settler PhD student in Ethnomusicology at the University of Washington where he is also completing certificates in Public Scholarship, Ethics, and Philosophy for Children. His work focuses primarily on the cultural politics of emotion and affect and often explores... Read More →

Saturday April 24, 2021 11:30am - 12:45pm PDT
Room B: Oscillator