Above: Screenshot from YouTube video of "I Was Raised," by the all-Native New Mexican band, XIT, Plight of the Redman (1972). 

Listen to 101 songs by artists featured in our May issue with this Spotify playlist created by Silver City's KURU DJ Mitch Hellman.

The XIT song “I Was Raised” has the sound of late Black Keys: catchy, poppy, pure American rock. It was recorded in 1972 by the all-Native New Mexican band for the album Plight of the Redman, recorded at the legendary Motown label. Its lyrics describe the joy and pain of growing up as a Native youth:

I saw death
I saw birth
The red of the night
And the green of Earth

After the release of the album, XIT toured the country, opening for bands like ZZ Top, Joe Cocker, and the Beach Boys. But ultimately, their position proved too far outside the status quo.

“Our message was a political statement about how Natives were treated in the U.S.,” says founding member Michael Martinez. “We affiliated ourselves with the American Indian Movement. We did a lot of their rallies. That was a detriment to us.”

The government took notice of their resistance and banned the group from the radio. By 1976 the group had disbanded. Songs like “I Was Raised” live on.

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