Kool Musicians You Did Not Know Have An Indigenous Background

Celebrating National Indigenous Month

June is National Indigenous Month. It’s all about honouring the history, heritage, and diversity of Indigenous peoples in Canada. You can learn more about their stories, traditions, and culture here.

In the meantime, we thought this would be an opportune time to share some information about the artists we play on Kool FM who have Indigenous ties.

Shania Twain

Her adopted father, Jerry Twain, was an Ojibwa from the Mattagami First Nation.

YouTube / Shania Twain

The Tragically Hip’s Gord Downie

He was heavily involved in Indigenous history. Gord Downie and his brother Mike, with the Wenjack family, founded the Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Fund to support reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. The fund is a large part of Downie’s legacy and commitment to Canada’s First Peoples. Chanie Wenjack was a young indigenous boy who tried to escape a residential school, but died trying. Downie’s ‘Secret Path Project’ is based on this story. Downie was honoured with an eagle feather, a symbol of the creator above, for all of his support of the Indigenous peoples of Canada. He was also given an honorary aboriginal name, Wicapi Omani, which is Lakota for “man who walks among the stars”.

YouTube / GordDownieVideos

Jonas Brothers

The Jonas Brothers are of Native American descent. Their father’s side of the family is Cherokee.

YouTube / Jonas Brothers

Miley Cyrus

Miley Cyrus is also part Cherokee from her father’s side (her great grandmother).

YouTube / Miley Cyrus


Beyoncé has some Native heritage through her mother, who is Creole.


Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson’s mother’s ancestors were Cherokee. Furthermore, he has Choctaw ancestry on his father’s side.

YouTube / Michael Jackson


Cher’s mother is of French and Cherokee descent.

YouTube / Cher

Main Image via Twitter / @ShaniaTwain