Hollywood Wrap

'Smart Songs' gives lesson on Native American history

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Two guys who sing about social studies have done songs about the Constitution, our presidents, state capitals, even the flag. Their latest musical lesson involves American Indians.

This Native American-inspired tune is the latest in a series of hip-hop "smart songs." Their aim is to entertain and to inspire learning. Think of this as "schoolhouse rap" for today's young generation.

Smart Songs co-creator Jeff DuJardin spent months reading, writing and researching, putting together all the pieces.

"It was a very involved process to create this project," said DuJardin. "I have a friend on the East Coast who composed the beat and the music. I have a friend right here in L.A. who did the mixing and the mastering. We got some guys, about four different guys, filming it.

"We went to about three different pow-wows and met with a bunch of different Native Americans at these pow-wows," said DuJardin.

Initially, DuJardin says, the Native Americans they met were hesitant to become involved with their project, but when they learned it was to help educate kids on American Indian history, they were happy to help. A dozen or so even took part in the music video.

"You're getting a history lesson, really, but you don't know you are," said Cody Jones, a member of the Eastern Shoshone Tribe. "A lot of people in this country are familiar with Cherokee, Comanche and Lakota and past that, you know, nobody knows about the rest of them."

There are more than 550 federally recognized tribes in the U.S.

Carmen Cisneros, part of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe, loves the message this Smart Song sends.

"I just think it's a great way for people to learn about the Native American culture and how we started," said Cisneros.

"They value nature and the land. They value peace," said DuJardin. "And they value their family and their ancestors and so they want the generations ahead of them to learn about that culture.

"We want people to be inspired to go out and find out about the tribes that live near them," said DuJardin

(Copyright ©2014 KABC-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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