Indigenous Peoples’ Day in Chicago is an annual celebration that honors the cultural heritage and contributions of Indigenous communities. It takes place on the second Monday of October. The day features parades, cultural performances, and educational activities, promoting awareness, and unity. It provides a platform for Indigenous groups to share their traditions and addresses important issues facing these communities.
One Way Sky is an Indigenous indie rock band from the Gila River Indian Community and the Tohono O’odham Nation in Arizona. On Oct. 9, in celebration of Indigenous Peoples’ Day, the band took the stage at Chicago’s Chop Shop. Before they rocked the stage, F Newsmagazine sat down with the band for an interview where they talked about their motivations and journey.
Zoie Yoon: How does your Indigenous heritage and culture influence your music and lyrics?
One Way Sky: Our music is a reflection of what it’s like to be a Rez kid. All of us in the band have lived the rez life and know the beauty and how ugly rez life can be. We always represent our people and culture because we want to show our people it’s possible to chase your dreams and make them a reality. Our culture keeps us grounded and reminds us why we do what we do.
ZY. Indigenous Peoples’ Day is about celebrating and honoring Indigenous cultures. How do you feel your music contributes to this celebration?
QWS: It’s time for the history of indigenous people to be known and normalized. Colonized America has tried to erase our culture and history even to this day. If we can show the world that indigenous people are still thriving and even making a name for themselves through their art, it’s a way to fight back against colonialism. One day of recognition is a step towards the acknowledgment of our history, but every day should be Indigenous People’s Day in America.
ZY. Many Indigenous artists use their music as a platform to raise awareness about social and environmental issues. Are there any causes or topics that you’re particularly passionate about addressing through your music?
OWS: We use our music as a tool to spread healing and positivity. We take the negatives of our realities and turn them into positive affirmations. Love is the answer.
ZY. What advice do you have for aspiring Indigenous musicians who want to follow in your footsteps and use their music to connect with their heritage?
OWS: Whatever genuinely makes you happy, that is what you should go for. Nothing feels better than doing what makes your soul happy. Also, understand whatever it is you want to obtain, the creator and your ancestors will be with you every step of the way. Never forget them. There may be obstacles in your journey, but we believe it’s only because whatever path it is you’re trying to take, the universe will teach you to become that version of yourself you’ve envisioned. Life is an experience that is worth experiencing.