The American History Podcast

A Program Of Virginia Foundation for the Humanities


Listener Mail: Longtime Listener, First Time Song

We’re always happy to hear from listeners, and a few days ago we received this email from listener Daniel Hornsby giving us some backstory  that we never expected on our own episode :

Two nights ago, while lying in bed and listening to your program, I was at once perplexed and pleasantly surprised to hear the song “Fake Natives” after a story on colonists and indigenous influence on American “wilderness.”

Here’s the segment:

I wrote the song four years ago, in the living room of a little house in Manhattan, Kansas, not far from the college campus. The song marked a shift in our band, and eventually we would name both ourselves and our first album after the track. As a college sophomore studying Native literature the history of the conquest of Mexico (in a state where many indigenous nations had been forcibly relocated by the U.S. government), the album was a way for me to explore America’s violent and baffling past, as well as my own obscured indigenous ancestry. And while now, a few years later, I see the project as naive in some respects (namely some egregious costume choices that sadly aligned us with even more problematic acts–though in the very least I can say we never donned headdresses), the songs and the band are still important to me…The same interest that sparked the writing of the song drew me to BackStory, and since discovering your program, I’ve listened to nearly every episode. Honestly, I’m delighted to have heard the song on the podcast, and I welcome you to use any more of our music. (Also, I’m curious how you came across our band, and I would be interested in knowing how the song fell into your hands.)


I asked our producer, Andrew Parsons, who scored the show how we happened to come across it. Here’s what he said:

“The answer to his question is “we searched the word ‘natives’ in Spotify, the song came up and we loved it.”

Daniel also tells us that Fake Natives has just recorded a new album.

I tell you all this because it might be hard to imagine how tiny our band is, and how its survival has relied almost entirely on the friendship of its members and the support of a small group of listeners. This summer, Fake Natives recorded a new album, which is currently being mixed, and we find ourselves in a strange place as a group. Our bass player is a school librarian in Seattle, our trumpet player works as an architect in Dallas, our drummer is a consultant in Kansas City, and our lead guitarist is a freelance illustrator and manager of a comedy club is Los Angeles. I’ve just finished an MFA in fiction, and this year I am on a fellowship and living in Ann Arbor, Michigan (one of my professors, Michael Byers, was featured on a previous episode of the show about the stars).

So, fellow listeners: if you liked the music you heard on the show, head over to their Tumblr page to hear more, get updates on their new work, and show some love.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!