Indigenous originally consisted of brothers Mato Nanji (guitar and vocals), Pte (bass), their sister Wanbdi (drums and vocals), and cousin Horse (percussion). They are members of the Ihanktonwan Nakota Nation.
Their father, Greg Zephier, was a Wagner musician in the ‘60s and ‘70s and often played his extensive collection of blues records in their home. Greg taught each of his children to play their instruments. He was also well-respected as a leader advocating Native American rights.
The children began touring on their own. “Things We Do” was their first album in 1998, winning three Native American Music awards. A cut from the album, “Now That You’re Gone,” peaked at No. 22 on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock. Indigenous was featured on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, CBS Saturday Morning, and Austin City Limits. Blues legend B.B. King loved listening to Indigenous and asked them to tour with him.
Mato continued to tour after the band split up in 2006. He carried the band’s name, using many fine musicians. Currently bass player Justin Cournoyer and drummer Kurt Olson, childhood friends of Mato, join him on stage. Evan Nanji, Mato’s twenty-year-old son, has just joined the band.
Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix, Carlos Santana, Bonnie Raitt, and Jackson Browne have heavily influenced the group. Mato has been featured with The Jimi Hendrix Experience, and plays alongside legendary guitar player Buddy Guy, Billy Cox, Taj Mahal, Chris Layton, and other great musicians. He also tours with blues artist Otis Taylor and the Otis Taylor Band.
Indigenous featuring Mato Nanji has added many recordings to their discography: Broken Lands, Acoustic Sessions, Indigenous, Vanishing Americans, Time is Coming, Gray Skies, 3 Skulls and The Truth with David Hildago/Los Lobos and Luther Dickinson/North Mississippi All Stars.
The South Dakota Rock and Roll Music Association is proud to induct Indigenous into its Hall of Fame.