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50 Faces, Part II: Sainte-Marie, Rambler, Davis, Yellowtail, Duncan

More of Indian country's famous faces, featuring Buffy Sainte-Marie, Terry Rambler, Gary 'Litefoot' Davis, Bethany Yellowtail, and Tony Duncan
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We're back with a second handful of famous and important faces from Indian country, taken from the special print and e-newsletter issue "The 2015 50 Faces of Indian Country."

(You do subscribe to ICTMN's e-newsletter, don't you? Well if you don't, maybe you should. It's free: Click to go to the signup page.)

To see the first five people we spotlighted in this list, check out "50 Faces of Indian Country: Parker, Miller, Begay, Jacobs, Valdo." And now, onto the next five:

Buffy Sainte-Marie

Matt Barnes/True North Records

Buffy Sainte-Marie

Her music has inspired generations of singer-songwriters and activists. Buffy Sainte-Marie, Cree, is celebrated as one of Indian country’s most prolific musicians, and one of the best to ever make it to the mainstream. Her Stevie Nicks-like vibrato, matched with her poignant and piercing political lyrics – often concerning indigenous issues – put her in the musical elite with other 1960s socially conscious guitar pickers, such as Bob Dylan and the late Pete Seeger, and she is still making moving, relevant music. She has been the recipient of numerous awards, including an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for the song “Up Where We Belong,” which she co-wrote for the 1982 film An Officer and a Gentleman. Her latest album, Power in the Blood, was released this year. National Public Radio said it should stand as a reminder that her style “remains relevant, full of spit and vinegar and fun.”

Terry Rambler

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Terry Rambler

Terry Rambler was elected to the San Carlos Apache Tribal Council in 2004 and 2008, elected chairman in 2010 and reelected in 2014. He is also chairman of the Arizona Indian Gaming Association. As tribal chairman, he has concentrated on improving education, creating jobs, providing better health care and developing the infrastructure to support growth and development. Rambler’s administration established the San Carlos Training Institute, which trains tribal members as heavy equipment operators, diesel mechanics, electricians, welders and plant equipment operators. He also continued the development of a second casino, and the tribe recently opened a hospital and medical campus that will provide almost 500 jobs. On the federal level, Rambler is leading negotiations to settle water rights issues for the tribe and has formed a nationwide coalition to save Oak Flat, the San Carlos Apache Tribe’s traditional and most revered sacred site, from destruction by a copper mining project.

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Gary Davis

Courtesy Litefoot Enterprises

Gary Davis

Gary “Litefoot” Davis, Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, has used his music, tours, films, speaking engagements, and books to inspire Native people across North America. Davis’s music has earned him Album of the Year and Artist of the Year honors from the Native American Music Awards, while his theatrical accomplishments include a starring role in The Indian in the Cupboard. He currently serves as President and CEO of the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development. Davis has advanced economic opportunity for Indian country by building government relationships, growing diversity presence in corporate America, and increasing training and business development via NCAIED programs such as its Reservation Economic Summits (RES) and Native Edge portal. His lifetime of accomplishment recently eared him the prestigious Sevenstar Award from the Cherokee Nation Historical Society. 

Bethany Yellowtail

Matika Wilbur Photography

Bethany Yellowtail

Young Bethany Yellowtail, Crow and Northern Cheyenne, was steadily working her way up in the fashion industry. Just a few years after she graduated from college, she’d worked as a patternmaker for BCBG Max Azria and Kellwood Company’s popular BabyPhat line. But her passion was her own brand, B.Yellowtail, which was becoming a favorite of young Native entertainers in Los Angeles. In 2015, her dream came true, but so did her nightmare. In February, the Native fashion cognoscenti were shocked to see a dress design cribbed from Yellowtail on the runway at New York Fashion Week. “I felt gutted,” Yellowtail said. “I felt erased, as if my voice and perspective of Indigenous design disappeared.” Yet she didn’t let the thievery discourage her, and two months later launched her byellowtail.com website and first collection, “Mighty Few,” named after her home district on the Crow Nation.

Tony Duncan

Robert Doyle/Courtesy Canyon Records

Tony Duncan

Tony Duncan is an award-winning San Carlos Apache, Arikara, Mandan and Hidatsa hoop dancer. Along with his prowess with the hoops, Duncan is also a lauded musician. At the age of 10, his father taught him how to play traditional flute. Today, he’s the lead flutist in the celebrated musical group Estun-Bah (Apache for “For the woman”). His performances are an amalgamation of traditional hoop dance and live music. In 2013, Duncan was named Artist of the Year at the Native American Music Awards for his musical talents and influence, and has starred in a music video with pop singer Nelly Furtado as well as a Ford commercial starring Bret Michaels of the hair-band Poison, that was filmed in association with the 2011 Grammy Awards. His music is available
on iTunes.