American Indian Headdress

Given to Willie Nelson to honor his Cherokee heritage

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This Native American headdress was given to Willie Nelson. His mother, Myrle Marie Greenhaw Nelson, was three-quarters Cherokee, a heritage Nelson embraced throughout his music career. He was twice-honored as the "Outstanding Indian of the Year" by the American Indian Exposition, an annual ceremonial and cultural event that has drawn participants and tourists from around the world since 1936.

My appearances at various Indian events over the decades have made me closer to my Indian heritage and helped me to understand more about who I am and why I think the way I do. Willie Nelson

Willie Nelson (b. 1933) was raised by his grandparents in Abbott, Texas. Nelson’s interest in music began at an early age and by the 1960s he was living in Nashville where he became a successful songwriter. Moving back to Texas in the early 1970s, Nelson began to taste success as a performer in the burgeoning alternative music scene in Austin. The city's combination of country roots, experimental venues, and vibrant counterculture suited Nelson's informal, sincere style.

A seven-time Grammy winner, Nelson was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1993. His career has spanned six decades and more than 200 albums. He has collaborated with some of the greatest musical acts of all time including Kris Kristofferson, Johnny Cash, Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, and Merle Haggard. Nelson has also amassed reputable credentials as an author, actor, and activist.

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American Indian Headdress Artifact from Austin
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