Redrum Motorcycle Club, not to be confused with the movie The Shining’s Redrum, is the world’s most significant indigenous motorcycle club.
Cliff Matias, a native New Yorker, created the club in 2006. He wanted to create a club that would focus on brotherhood, motorcycling, community, respect, responsibility, and supporting family.
Spanning across eight countries, Redrum MC is the Warrior for the people. “I love what Redrum stands for and who we are. I love helping our people, and our tribal communities. It’s a match made in heaven,” said Waylon Marvin, president of the Great Basin Chapter in Northern Nevada.
By recognizing indigenous society and embracing the traditions of our elders, Redrum MC has helped tribal communities across the US with fundraisers for American Indian Veterans and scholarships for young American Indian youths, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. The line 3 pipeline, abusive residential schools, Oak Flat Copper Mine.
In 2019 Redrum MC was the first motorcycle club to be invited to the United Nations in New York, where they addressed countless issues impacting the indigenous communities.
“Being in the club is beautiful. We are always doing something tribal affiliated,” said Marvin. A few years ago, the Redrum MC held a run for the Cherokee Counseling Cancer Foundation for the Cherokee Reserve. “All our runs are native-based and native-driven that helps my community and people. That’s why I love this club.”
Marvin, who has been a member since 2014, is a Mohawk from the Akwesasne Mohawk reserve located in St. Regis that borders New York and Canada.
Growing up, his brother, also a member of Redrum (New York chapter), got him his first dirt bike when he was about nine. From there, he grew from his dirt bike to a sport bike and eventually to a Harley Davidson cruiser. “It’s kind of been hit the ground running since then, I develop a passion,” said Marvin.
Marvin had grown up in the city, lived five hours away from his reserve, and never had the chance to learn his native culture. “It was a little bit more challenging to know all my traditional dances, my culture.”
Moving to Reno 5 years ago and now living in the Hungary Valley Paiute Reserve; he is learning the Paiute language and culture through his wife, who is fluent in the Paiute language. “I was able to pick up a lot. Not only ceremony wise, but basket making, beadwork, and songs.” His wife and kids are members of the Paiute tribe here in Northern Nevada and are of Hopi and Pueblo descent.
Waylon hopes for the future to continue to commit and grow more in ceremonies within the Paiute tribe and other tribal communities.
Although founded by an American Indian and known as the world’s most prominent Indigenous Motorcycle Club, Redrum MC has many non-Native members across its chapters. Their main goal in accepting new members is to see if each incoming member can establish a good relationship with not only its existing members but also within the indigenous communities.
Dylan Powers, a non-native member, is the Black Oak Los Angeles chapter president. Powers, who started riding in his mid-20s, said the only challenge he faced was the slurs about not being indigenous. “I point them to a patch on our back. We have a skull with four colors of war paint over one eye. And each of those colors represents the colors of humanity. So it’s not about claiming indigenous blood or not claiming indigenous blood. We’re open to all persuasions and all types of folks,” said Powers.
Since joining the club, Powers has picked up some languages and cultural traditions from various indigenous communities. One major event that Powers had the honors of was participating in a sweat. “I was excited to be invited to do sweat some months back. And it was the first time.” one of the members from the club had invited Powers to take part in this sacred ceremony. “It’s a great experience. It was amazing. It’s good medicine.”
The Black Oak Chapter has about half a dozen members. Powers hopes to grow his chapter with members who share the same passion he does for the surrounding indigenous communities.
As Redrum MC is the most significant indigenous club in the world with indigenous and non-indigenous members, the club does not claim any territory within any indigenous communities. The members would wear First Nations Rockers that would represent the indigenous peoples.
“Although my guys or myself in the Great Basin Chapter are not Paiute or Washoe or Shoshone, We still pay homage to the local natives here by wearing our Rockers. We are very blessed and thankful to be able to represent them wherever we go.” said Marvin.
Envisioned Redrum MC members across its chapters will help promote respect, honor, integrity, peace, and unity.
Redrum MC members are the warriors for the indigenous peoples, but the name is the bloodline for the heartbeat of Mother Earth.
Alejandra Rubio is a visual artist who works with photography and mix-media. She embeds herself into different cultures and subcultures to share their voices, experiences, and inflections, giving viewers a respectful glimpse into their unique worldviews, concerns, and aspirations. She is a member of the Yavapai-Apache Nation and grew up in Camp Verde, a rural river valley in northern Arizona.
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