KEYWORDS: native american musician native american obituaries Frederick P. Whiteface NAMMYS Native American Music Association South Dakota Lakota musician Native American Music NAMA’s 1998 Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Best Jazz Artist at the First Native American Music Awards Second Annual Native American Music Awards Third Annual Native American Music Awards The Swing Fantabulous Pine Ridge reservation The Flamingos Dakota Musicians Hall of Fame
SOURCE: The Native American Music Association
FREDERICK P. WHITEFACE (1922-2002). The Native American Music world lost
one of its most distinguished talents, elder Frederick P. Whiteface. On
Sunday, May 19th at 10:07AM, he died at his home in Rapid City, South
Dakota, surrounded by his family.
Lifetime Achievement Award & Best Jazz Artist
Frederick Whiteface was NAMA’s 1998 Lifetime Achievement Award recipient
and Best Jazz Artist at the First Native American Music Awards. He was a
special guest presenter at the Second Annual Native American Music Awards,
and a special guest performer with his group, The Swing Fantabulous at the
Third Annual Native American Music Awards.
For most of his entire life, Frederick P. Whiteface had a love affair with
music from two different worlds. Born on the Pine Ridge reservation in
South Dakota in 1922, he began playing music by the age of seven.
A WWII Veteran and a college graduate with a teaching degree, 80 year old
Frederick Whiteface was a self taught musician. He picked up the guitar at
11 years old.
During high school he added other instruments into his
repertoire including; clarinet, trumpet & trombone. However, it was the
saxophone that stayed with him most.
Allowed only to travel within a 100
mile radius from his home, he found part time work with other professional
groups in his area.
By age 20 he joined the Navy and served in both the
Atlantic and Pacific Oceans aboard the USS Impulse, USS Big Her and the USS
Cape Johnson during World War II.
In the 1950’s he formed The Flamingos and
performed at clubs in the Black Hills. He soon became noted for his unique
sax and jazz improvisations fused with traditional Lakota chants and drum
In recent years, he led his own jazz quartet and played with Big Bands such
as The Tones and Tommy Mathews Orchestra.
Dakota Hall of Fame
In 1995, he was inducted into the
Dakota Hall of Fame and subsequently, April 20th, 1995 was declared
Frederick Whiteface Day.
At 76 years of age, he witnessed the national
release of his first recording, Mato Hota on Soar Records which earned him
a 1998 Nammy for Best Jazz Recording and a letter of congratulations from
US Senator Tom Daschle.
During his recipient speech at the First Native
American Music Awards he said, “In the end, you get an opportunity to
express what you feel and I think that is the most important part. I got an
opportunity to express what I was hearing from the wind.”
On November 11th 2000, Frederick Whiteface and the Swing Fantabulous graced
the NAMA stage with a dynamic performance at the Third Annual Native
American Music Awards.He also performed in a special Hall of Fame tribute
for the late jazz artist Jim Pepper along with Rita Coolidge, Mickey Hart,
Bill Miller, Joanne Shenandoah, Robert Tree Cody, Jennifer Warnes and
Frederick Whiteface’s independent recording, Fred By Request also received a
nomination for Song/Single of the Year.
Frederick P. Whiteface Remembered
Succumbing to a 20 year battle with cancer, Frederick Whiteface leaves
behind his wife Pearl and his six children; Charmaine Whiteface Cutler,
Wayne Iteska (Iteska means Whiteface in Lakota), Germaine Whiteface Hughes,
Lorraine Whiteface Braveheart, Elaine Whiteface, and Dalaine Bloom, the
latter of the two who have both appeared on their Dad’s recordings, Mato
Hota and Fred By Request.
NAMA CEO and President, Ellen Bello states, “I am very saddened by this
loss. Frederick Whiteface was an extremely distinguished and classy
gentleman who was an exceptional talent and ultimate professional. He was
also a wonderful role model, teacher, and an inspiring individual to many.
He will be greatly missed by us all.”
His daughter, Dalaine, recalls, “My father was very happy always of the
recognition he received from NAMA for his music. His Awards still remain in
view for everyone at his home.
Although, we miss our father very much; the
20 year battle with cancer was a long struggle. We are just very happy that
he does not have to suffer any longer and that he did accomplish many of
his musical dreams.
The Priest at his funeral said that when Fred arrived in
Heaven; that Louie Armstrong welcomed Fred and asked him to lead them in
playing,” When The Saints Come Marchin In.”
In his honor, the Native American Music Association has established the
Frederick P. Whiteface Scholarship Award. Donations are now being accepted
by the Whiteface family and the Native American Music Association.
Donations may be sent to the Native American Music Association, 511 Avenue
of the Americas #371, New York, NY 10011.For further information, contact
Ellen Bello at (212) 228 8300 or Dalaine Bloom at (605) 348 3591.
Frederick P. Whiteface Recognitions & Awards:
- 1998 Lifetime Achievement Award – Native American Music Awards
- 1998 Best Jazz Artist – Native American Music Awards
- 1995 Dakota Musicians Hall of Fame
- April 20, 1995 – Fred Whiteface Day
My heart is moved
by all I cannot save,
so much has been lost….
so much has been destroyed.
I must cast my lot with those who,
age after age,
perversely, with no extraordinary power…
reconstitute the world.