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Bob Dylan (Robert Dylan) AKA Robert Allen Zimmerman


Quoting excerpts from this article: https://www.duluthnewstribune.com/lifestyle/arts-and-entertainment/front-row-seat-bob-dylan-buffy-sainte-marie-and-reckoning-over-folk-revival

Front Row Seat: Bob Dylan, Buffy Sainte-Marie and reckoning over folk revival
CBC News has produced evidence that Buffy Sainte-Marie has been untruthful about her purported origins. There are echoes in the story of Bob Dylan, a fellow folkie born in Duluth the same year.
By Jay Gabler — November 23, 2023 at 6:00 AM

DULUTH — Music fans around the world are grappling with a recent report by CBC News, which uncovered a birth certificate indicating that folk singer Buffy Sainte-Marie was biologically born to white parents in Massachusetts and not, as she has long claimed, adopted by that couple from birth parents of the Piapot First Nation in Saskatchewan.
The revelation comes amid a reckoning with the practice of Indigenous identity fraud, in which people falsely claim to have Native ancestry. While Sainte-Marie forged close ties with a Piapot family, the doubt over whether her journey to Saskatchewan literally constituted a homecoming has caused sorrow and anger among generations who have embraced Sainte-Marie as an icon of Indigenous music and culture.

Reading this news in Duluth, I couldn't help but think of Sainte-Marie's peer, Bob Dylan. I'm not the only one — in the CBC News article, Dylan's is the first name mentioned among fellow members of Sainte-Marie's 1960s musical circles.

Dylan and Sainte-Marie both rose to prominence during what became known as the "folk revival" in American music. Both were born in 1941, and both took stage names: Dylan was originally named Robert Zimmerman, while Sainte-Marie was born Beverly Jean Santamaria.
Early in Dylan's career, he took considerable creative license in discussing his origins. Journalists eventually discerned that Dylan grew up in northern Minnesota, but when the artist first started getting press, he would answer questions about his origins obliquely and would often add wild untruths.

He'd describe living on the Great Plains and in the desert Southwest as a child, then traveling with a carnival in his teen years. Dylan acknowledged being born in Duluth, but cast a bit of doubt even between the Twin Ports. "Maybe it was Superior, Wisconsin, right across the line," he said to Shelton.

Dylan was casting himself in the mold of his itinerant Okie hero Woody Guthrie. Dylan's dissembling was in the spirit of a long history of artists obscuring their origins so as upend expectations surrounding their work. It also, though, spoke to the highly contested notion of authenticity during the folk revival.
While Dylan has never publicly claimed Indigenous ancestry, it seems he was not entirely averse to wrapping ersatz Native identity into the web of stories he wove in his early years. The young Dylan told some of his New York friends that he was of Sioux descent, fellow musician Dave Van Ronk recalled.

"One night he spent something like an hour showing a bunch of us how to talk in Indian sign language, which I'm pretty sure he was making up as he went along, but he did it marvelously," wrote Van Ronk in his memoir. "And when we found out that a lot of his stories were bull---t, that didn't really lower his stock all that much."
The reality of Dylan's own origins is that he was born to middle-class parents in Duluth and came of age in Hibbing. While Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and others have movingly sung of the plight of the largely white working-class Minnesota miners exploited by industrial titans, popular musicians have had much less to say about the Indigenous history of regions like the Iron Range.

"The land from which the mines were carved was coercively taken from the Ojibwe, largely for its mineral resources," wrote scholar Joseph Whitson in a 2019 article about the erasure of Indigenous history on the Iron Range. "The white ethnic immigrant workers' 'sylvan wilderness' was only created by the coercive, and often violent, removal of the Ojibwe to reservations."

I looked for Bob Dylan1s possible involvement with Native American themes, and found this:


Amerindian Roots of Bob Dylan’s Poetry
[By] Emmanuel Désveaux (Trans. from French by Valerie Burling)

[An article in the journal Oral Tradition, 22/1 (2007): 134-150]

A fascinating and interesting read, which I hope more people than me will enjoy.


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