Sonic Sovereignty: Performing Hopi Authority in Öngtupqa

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


In this article, I explore the ways territorial authority or sovereignty emerges from within a particular mode of Indigenous creativity-the creation and performance of Hopi taatawi (traditional songs)-despite the appropriation of Hopi traditional lands by the American settler-state. Hopi territories within Öngtupqa (Grand Canyon) are just a sample of the many places where Indigenous authority, as expressed through sound-based performances, continues to resonate despite the imposition of settler-colonial structures that have either silenced Indigenous performances of authority or severed these places from Indigenous territories. Drawing on the work of Hopi composers and intellectuals, I explore how Hopi musical composition and performance are deeply intertwined with Hopi political philosophy and governance, resulting in a form of sovereignty that is inherently sonic rather than strictly literary or textual in nature. Recognizing that this interconnection between territorial authority and sound production is common across many Indigenous communities, I propose listening to contemporary Indigenous creativity not just as an aesthetic form but as a source of sonic sovereignty.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)508-530
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of the Society for American Music
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Music


Dive into the research topics of 'Sonic Sovereignty: Performing Hopi Authority in Öngtupqa'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this