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Fred Hill Sr

From the Nez Perce Nation, Oregon State.

Frederick A.Hill Sr, born & raised on the Umatilla Reservation of East Oregon. Tribes like the Cayuse, Umatilla and Walla Walla were here long before there was an Oregon Trail and their lives were never the same afterward.
Fred grew up with his tribal language taught to him by his grandmother and listening to coyotes tell things to come. Musically inclined as a child Fred was fortunate to have a piano in his home, and his maternal uncle was a band musician. He learned to harmonize with his voice at a young age and was in choir in school.
Fred gradually began sitting at the tribal drums & singing with his elder singers and they really relied on him in helping them carry old songs and not to forget them. Today, Fred teaches drumming & singing to high school age students and has three grown children and several grandchildren.


Fred was born in Pendleton and raised by grandparents and an uncle after his parents died in his infancy. Raised in Pilot Rock, his grandmother, Annie Jo, spoke to him in the Umatilla Yakama dialects and the Nez Perce language. Fred said when he started public school he knew little English and focused intently on mastering the language. Due to racial tension he left Pilot Rock to attend the Chemewa boarding school in Salem. There he had the opportunity to get back into traditional drumming and singing, run cross country and play basketball. Before returning to the Umatilla Reservation, Fred attended colleges in Salem, Lawrence, Kansas and Santa Fe and lived on the Yakama Reservation where he married.

A teacher at Nixyaawii Community School in Pendleton and editor of a Umatilla dictionary, Fred shares his knowledge of language, singing, drumming and traditional culture with his students. An avid big drum powwow singer and longhouse religious singer, Fred is often asked to conduct naming, first deer or elk killed or fish salmon caught ceremonies. A self-described, “happy husband, happy grandfather”, Fred is an avid reader of history and is delving into his family’s early history. He is a known presence at the Homeland Project’s Tamkaliks and attends other celebrations as a drummer and singer.

Freds Song

A dedication to Fred Hill Sr. from the Nez Perce Nation, Oregon State.

Release date: 



Recorded and mastered:

Svend Andréen at Klokkereint

Cover design:

Alexander Rostad

Cover art:

Martine Kraft



Martine Kraft

Arrangements and productions:

Sven Andréen og Nils Jørgen Nygaard Kraft

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