Adam Walking Eagle and Armondo P. Tenequer

Adam, Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes; Armondo, Navajo/Comanche

About the Artists

Adam Walking Eagle is enrolled in the Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes in Montana. He was born in Washington, D.C. and grew up in Virginia. He is working toward a bachelor’s degree in elementary education at Haskell Indian Nations University. Adam specializes in music production, including beat-making, mixing, mastering, and sound design with the goal of creating a more ambient/atmospheric sound to provide people with a euphoric listening experience. This First Nations project is the first time Adam has shared his art with people outside of his family and close friends. “I feel like I truly made something special,” he says.

Armondo P. Tenequer (Navajo/Comanche) is a singer/songwriter who specializes in Southern singing and occasionally participates in live theater. His parents are Mario and Valerie L. Tenequer. His father, Mario Tenequer, is a well-known Southern singer with the world-renowned band Young Bird from Pawnee, Oklahoma. Armondo grew up singing Comanche church hymns and sang in several choirs. He specializes in healing music that infuses traditional roots with a sacred sound. He is working toward an associate degree in community health at Haskell Indian Nations University and plans to return to the reservation to help improve and prolong the health of his Native people.

About the Art

Save the Indian

“We joined forces as a producer (Adam) and singer (Armondo) to create a song combining traditional Native music with contemporary sounds. As Natives who lived off the reservation, we have struggled to be accepted by Natives who grew up around their culture. Using music as the great equalizer, we have blended traditional and modern music to bridge the gap between these different life experiences. The vocals and beat signify the coming together of the two worlds. The halfway point of the song includes a fuller sounding beat and a chorus of traditional vocals ― showing that no one can accomplish this feat alone. Rather, people need to unite to achieve something of this magnitude.” ―Adam Walking Eagle and Armondo P. Tenequer

Adam image larger

Album art created by Mario Tenequer, Jr. (Navajo/Comanche).


Profile Q&A

What does the idea of “justice for Native communities” mean to you?

Justice for Native communities can also include justice within Native communities. As Native artists, we have much in common. We are sophomores at Haskell Indian Nations University, and we were both raised off the reservation. We have also had a difficult time being accepted by Natives who grew up around their culture. We believe that before we can fully see justice for our communities, we must first seek justice and acceptance on a personal level, regardless of where we are from.

What do you think needs to happen in the world to achieve justice for Native communities?

First, we need to address the problems impacting the communities we are a part of and hold one another accountable. If we, as Natives, show a lack of respect for one another within our own tribes and communities, how can we expect others to show that same respect for us? We need to show one another that we are united in our efforts and that all Natives are striving to be great in everything we do. Once non-Natives can acknowledge this unity within our communities, we will begin to receive the justice and respect we are seeking. Secondly, we believe that once a new generation of young people comes into power, things will start to change. It could potentially start right here on campus, as these Natives are the ones who will lead their communities in the future.

How do you express justice through your artwork?

We express justice by uniting those Natives who are not as familiar with their culture with those who practice a more traditional lifestyle. We titled our song “Save the Indian” to harken back to the old saying from Indian boarding school days, “Kill the Indian, save the man.” We rephrased that saying to bring awareness to those shameful times and let non-Natives know that Native Americans are still here, still alive, still thriving. “Save the Indian” is about your mindset, going back to your traditional roots. We want to send the message, “Remember your Indian.” Don’t get lost and caught up in this fake world.

Is there anything else you would like to share about Native justice and your artwork?

We believe our music could be something new and different. Although there is an important and lasting place for traditional Native music, we think our culture could benefit from diversifying and expanding into other aspects of music. We are so excited to be a part of a project like this and hope that our music and words can impact those around us in a positive way, and hopefully, motivate others to not only better themselves, but also those around them.