"The one group that hasn't really been investigated in terms of their contribution [to music history] is the Native Americans."

— Gary Giddins, jazz critic, The Village Voice

In this stirring and informative documentary, Catherine Bainbridge and Alfonso Maiorana pay tribute to the often unacknowledged Native American singers, songwriters, and musicians who have made varied and pioneering contributions to popular music history.

She begins with "Rumble," a 1958 instrumental rock piece by American Indian rock guitarist and singer Link Wray. This revolutionary music introduced the rock power-chord and the use of distortion and feedback.

Other musical icons who paved the way into the future of pop and rock music with indigenous shadings are the father of Delta Blues Charley Patton, the innovative jazz singer Mildred Bailey, the immensely creative guitarist and singer Jimi Hendrix, the socially radical folk music singer/songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie, superstar Robbie Robertson, and guitarist to the greats Jesse Ed Davis. Many of these innovators were hindered in their careers by conservatives in the marketplace and government who sought to ban, censor, and obliterate Indian culture in America.

Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World also contains positive commentary on the Indian artists and their work by Jackson Browne, Eric Clapton, Taylor Hawkins, Slash, Taboo, Steven Van Zandt Tony Bennett, Iggy Pop, and others. This documentary is dedicated to the late Santee Dakota poet and musician John Trudell who was an activist for American Indian rights.

Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World was screened for our coverage of the AFI Docs Film Festival 2017.