‘We’ll Get There Through Music’: Sonic Literacies, Rhetorics of Alliance, and Decolonial Healing in Joy Harjo’s Winding Through the Milky Way

This is an image of a neon green and black butterfly. It's placed atop a drawn image of a blue flower. One of the wings is under my finger.

This piece for the University of Arizona Press, appears in the first book on Indigenous contemporary music, Indigenous Pop: Native American Musicians and Popular Music Genres, edited by Jeff Berglund, Jan Johnson, and Kimberli Lee, discusses Joy Harjo’s  (Cherokee) music in terms “alternative” epistemologies, race relations, and theories of sound within composition studies. Specifically, I look at how Harjo uses sound to invoke sovereignty and decolonial healing through her use of traditional stomp dance drum beats, and blues and jazz structures that (re)create age-old alliances between American Indians and African Americans.