The History of Indian Records Inc.
In 1964, Indian Records Inc. was founded by Oscar Humphrey in Watonga, Oklahoma. The business actually began as a shop called Cheyenne Indian Supplies, which sold various Native American supplies, especially beads. Humphrey began getting many customers asking for records of Native American music. After his friends also showed an interest in making recordings, Humphrey bought a reel-to-reel recorder and started learning how to record and edit music. Humphrey had a background in electronics, and was able to pick up on how to use recording equipment.
For the first record, Humphrey got in touch with his friend Phillip Whiteman, who was a member of the Northern Cheyenne tribe. Humphrey traveled to Lame Deer, Montana, where he received Whiteman’s approval to record Northern Cheyenne war dance songs. This first recording was done in one night on June 22, 1968 in a living room, and became IR 303, 12 Northern Cheyenne War Dance Songs, which we have in stock here at the store and online!
Humphrey continued this process throughout the 1960s and 70s, traveling to visit people of around thirty-four different tribes and nations, visiting their homes or attending powwows. He had friendships with each performer he recorded. After recording, Humphrey edited the music himself before sending the recording to be manufactured by RCA in Hollywood. He repeated this process to produce the 106 titles on the Indian Records Inc. label. The Indian Records albums have transformed with recording technology’s developments, released on LP, 8-track, and cassette throughout the past few decades. Now the Indian Records catalog is available on their website on CD and as digital downloads. And, 21 of their titles on LP are in stock here at Torn Light Records, available for purchase in-store or online!
Albums on Indian Records Inc. are widely acknowledged as valuable artifacts of Native American music, such as by the Library of Congress. Their recordings have been used for documentaries and as resources in libraries across the United States. Add an Indian Records Inc. recording to your own collection!
Available titles at Torn Light:
16 Northern Arapahoe Songs, IR 150
18 Arickara Songs, IR 175
12 Blackfeet Songs, IR 220
12 Northern Cheyenne War Dance Songs, IR 303
12 Northern Cheyenne Songs, IR 304
7 Southern Cheyenne Songs, IR 320
Rocky Boy 17 Chippewacree Songs, IR 335
14 Crow Songs, IR 475
19 Crow Songs, IR 476
16 Gros Ventre And Assiniboine Songs, IR 490
16 Kiowa Songs, IR 655
17 Mandan-Hidatsa Songs, IR 740
19 Omaha Songs, IR 825
16 Shoshone-Bannock Songs by The Buffalo Lodge Singers, IR 1160
18 Shoshone Songs, IR 1165
16 Sioux Songs (Ft Peck), IR 1190
19 Sioux Songs (Standing Rock), IR 1191
16 Sioux Songs, IR 1194
16 Umatilla Songs, IR 1280
16 Songs By Warm Springs Confederated Tribes – IR 1300
18 Winnebago Songs, IR 1310
October 17, 2021 | News