This talk traces narratives of criminality in relationship to rurality and land through popular culture from film and television to country music to consider the romanticization of white moral transgression and the racialization of land and freedom. I argue that the Western (in film, tv, and literature) and rural music genres in both English and Spanish present a dualism of action – either to assimilate to a trajectory of colonial white supremacy (often also couched within heteropatriarchy and capitalism) or to become an outlaw to the outlaws, and side with the othered and oppressed. Given that Country music positions itself as the pop culture sound of living with the land (rural life), then what is an Indigenous country border outlaw listening to and what do the borderlands sound like to her? On border tribal radio stations the Indigenous listener may find herself between the worlds of white Country music and Mexican rural genres alongside forms of urban and diasporic outlaw music, from reggae to hip hop to death metal. Waila music, the social music of O’odham life, an Indigenization of the Spanish word baila for “dance” and called Chicken Scratch in English, is a border transgressing mix of these genres. I argue that looking at Indigenous and Mexican rural music presents alternative representations of rurality, living with land, and outlaw strategies against colonialism and white supremacy.

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