Go-ko-ko Odena| My Favourite Top Fifteen Indian Songs


Ahnii …For those, who give a Hoot! Welcome to Go-ko-ko Odena. Go-ko-ko is “Owl” and Odena is place of many hearts.

Throughout my years I was always looking for songs about Indians. After realizing, that of course Indians sang too, I started looking for more to collect. Listen to them I included youtube links where I could. With each song I shared some memories.

The videos are engaging, fun, disgusting. Enjoy, listen, learn.

KAWLIGA by Helen Roy, Hank Williams, Billy Thunderkloud

This song I can remember for ever. I got to listen to the Hank Williams version, since I was a youngster.  Lots of memories. I didn’t know what a cigar store Indian was. How could a heart be made of knotty pine? I thought of those things. As I got older I understood more. I danced to this song at many a party at the old hall in GR and in the Thunderbird room of the Rankin Arena.

Helen Roy sings her version in the language.  She is from Wikwemikong and has a number of CDs out with various themes, Johnny Cash, Elvis and various others. Her version made my bucket list so that I want to sing the entire song in the language.  I need a little more practice.


These 3 songs are sung by Cash and came out as part of the Bitter Tears album.  I found out about this album from Gary Potts.  Gary and I were in Toronto Law School together. For a long time, I had been trying to make the “Ultimate Indian” CD.  I was talking to a class mate about this and Gary overheard. He suggested the Bitter Tears album.  I found the CD in Buffalo NY, on an expedition to watch the Super Bowl game at the Buffalo Hooters.

Bitter Tears came out in the 60’s. A lot of radio stations wouldn’t play it. But I learned things from these songs. Ira Hayes was one of the 27 survivors who raised the flag on Iwo Jima.  This raising of the flag was captured in an iconic war photograph.

It opened my eyes to the sacrifices our vets made and continued to make for North America.

There is a book tells of the making of the “Bitter Tears” album.

WARRIORS by Angus Jourdain

This powerful song is sung by a singer from North Western Ontario. Be proud, don’t give them anymore ammo. Break their expectations. In the immortal words of Chief Dan George’s centenary address to Canada:

Oh, God! Like the Thunderbird of old I shall rise again out of the sea; I shall grab the instruments of the white man’s success -his education, his skills, and with these new tools I shall build my race into the proudest segment of your society. Before I follow the great Chiefs who have gone before us, oh Canada, I shall see these things come to pass.

I shall see our young braves and our chiefs sitting in the houses of law and government, ruling and being ruled by the knowledge and freedom of our great land. So shall we shatter the barriers of our isolation. So shall the next hundred years be the greatest and proudest in the proud history of our tribes and nations.”

I see these things changing. Revival of languages, lawyers, athletes, doctors which leads nicely to the next song.


Love this song thank god for youtube. Upbeat and doesn’t follow the pity party theme. This one always picks me up.

AMAZING GRACE by Susan Aglukark

This song is sung at a lot of Indian funerals. The first time I remember hearing it, it was sung in Anishnabe by young Ailing woman, from the Michigan side. At one time I recorded her live on a cassette tape. I’m not sure where that tape is. Could someone help me with the name. I think it is Audrey Ailing’s daughter.

I APOLOGISE by Gary Fjellgaard

This song came out around the time of Harper’s apology. The song does not make excuses, nor does it blame the victims. It simply says “I’m sorry”. It is very powerful

JULY INDIAN by David Campbell

Lots of people looking for suntans.This is a happy song.

NDN KAR by Keith Secola

I heard this song in the movie “Dance Me Outside”. Elizabeth Jordan, at the time a future class mate at UoT Law, found me a copy of the soundtrack. The song is about the pow wow circuit. Driving in a beater car and living the dream. I never really got into pow wows. Great place to visit, see some colourful dancers, check out the Indian cuisine. I spent most of my summers following the fast pitch circuit.

A joganosh Northern Ontario version of Crocodile Dundee, drove me home from Sudbury one time. Now Dave’s car had some adventures rolled a few times. There were lots of dents in the roof and Dave had pounded out the bigger dents in the roof to get it to stand back up. But the car’s dents had dents except where the Bondo took over.

We were leaving at twilight so our first stop was the Canadian Tire store. Dave purchased a 2 foot bar o which he hooked up a set of brake and running lights. Of course we had to MacGuyver the Indian trunk lock. I think dave started the car with a screw driver and vice grips.

We got in late, so we parked the car on the front lawn, so has not to block my wife from going to work.  Around 9 ish we got about a dozen cars. “Get that piece of junk off the reserve”, “your giving Rankin a bad name”, “oley Joe, your giving rez cars a bad name”…lots of funny people.

The jognaosh rez car out rezzed the Indian cars.


This song I dedicate to Joe Boyden and all the other people who try to claim to be indians. Wannabees is the name of this tribe, being led by Gray Owl and Joe Boyden. The sense of betrayal, not only to take advantage and sell themselves, but it also says your pain, your life is not real and is not worthy.

In the US everyone’s Indian bloodline flowed through the Cherokee princess’s. So all these displaced peasants were marrying royalty -WOWSER! “Moving on up to the west side…”(My singing even while typing is …ahhh interesting … poor quality but lots of enthusiasm.)

Then you got the local yocal, “hey Joe I’m an indian too.” which leads us to the next song.

I’M AN INDIAN TOO by The 1491s

This song is hilarious and the video that goes with it adds to the comedy.


This song is song by women and just has some awesome strength to it. The constant struggle hits your heart.

INDIAN NATION by Billy Thunderkloud

Billy was a long-time friend of my dad’s. Billy, along with Rankin’s own Frank “Bojo” Boyer were the performers that opened the all new Rankin arena in 1977. This song was variation of the song “Cherokee Nation”

SCOOBY DOO by Ode’min kwe singers

Leaving on a happy note. I could not find this song on the web. It’s a great song that pleases the heart.

So one more, here is the link, tell me what you think.

Baa maa pi!

P.S.: I know there are more than 15.


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