People continue to practicing Native American Culture today because of their love for the land, respect for it and the community. Native American Culture is passed on to the new and future generation through various means such as music or holding on to a particular traditional practice. The culture is the people’s love for the land, their respect for it and the community and the togetherness in general as a family. Radmilla Cody is the first biracial American Navajo model, known for her award-winning Native music and as an anti-domestic violence activist. She was born in the Navajo Nation and brought up by her maternal grandmother, a Navajo. She does a mix of traditional Navajo music and soul music. Cody has also won the Miss Navajo contest which required the contestant to have full knowledge of the Dine traditions and language fluency. It is essential that Navajo understand their ancestral history to respect and maintain their traditions; Cody does this through her many songs and dances throughout her life
The contribution of Native American Ideals
People believe maintaining the culture is a way of protecting Mother Earth and her resources. Radmilla Cody is the first Native American Artist and a community activist who has succeeded in passing on her Native American Culture as a Navajo an African America to the people. She brings sound into a conversation about indigeneity, belonging and blood. For example, most of her acapella are teaching about a kinship called K’é which gives the foundation for Navajo identity and the existence of the community. K’é is a Navajo or Dine word meaning “system of kinship.” K’é represents the way a Navajo identifies herself or himself to the rest of the community. It explains the clan a person belongs to; thus, he/she knows where they stand. The system also acts as a guide for marriage such that one will marry in the unforbidden clan. K’é system also gives the basis for Navajo relationships, which includes how people introduce themselves, address and respect one another to maintain a peaceful coexistence among the Dine people. In her record, K’é Hasin it explains enduring kinship and hope. Although some people use her mixed identities to single her out as a less Navajo, she takes her full identity as both an African American and a Navajo. She uses the two races to her advantage to encompass both language and music and promote Native American values
Native American values in Cody’s Music
Cody combines traditional sounds with the modern’s day to give a gospel and soul vibe. Her music provides her audience with an insight into her interesting and diverse culture and upbringing suing her native language Navajo and English During Cody’s childhood, her grandmother would take her to the church where she got the influence to perform Christianity’s gospel songs while her uncle, Herman Cody influenced her on the soul music which interprets sacred ceremonial songs of Navajo. Her music contains a lot of Native American Culture representing Navajo heritage as she uses repetitive and relatively short phrases (Gorman). An example is in her song “A Beautiful Dawn” she is repetitive with words and phrases which is similar to other traditional songs. This design reflects her Navajo heritage. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xny8znDmPUY
Cody work gets experienced through songs. For example, her song “The Protection Way/Warrior Song” which resembles a traditional performance of the people of Navajo called Navajo Circle Dance “Shizhane’e.” The song encourages, blessing and motivate warriors prior going into the battle. This song and others are her traditional songs that give the audience with specific functions of the culture. Notably, Cody uses a drum to perform at the Native American Culture tradition supports making her performance seem more traditional even in the modern day. Using instrumentation, similar repetition and phrases, singing in Dine and similar vocals are a representation of Navajo tradition (Gorman). Native musicians use large drums accompanied by tribal language lyrics and repetitive tonic pitch to offer a means of communication among the Navajos. Drums represent the heartbeat of the Dines as the Mother Earth. The repetition of the musical phrases and drums in songs are identifiable as Native music. During her performances, Cody uses these symbols to identify with her people.
Role of Cody’s music in society, practices, and expectations
In a society, that does not embrace but instead rejects indigeneity and blackness aspects, Radmilla plays a crucial role in proclaiming the strength of the biracial children and giving them hope and fierce to overcome race and cultural identity stigma in this racialized society. In this modern society, people privilege national culture, and with the help of Native American Cultural music, they accept people beyond race. Various realities involve Indian identity such as sexuality, language, mixed races among other possibilities. Radmilla underwent through that life of biracial in America while growing up, and so native and African Americans relate with her as racialized groups (Brown, Daniel, and Elizabeth, 560). She embraces a discourse that challenges Nativeness depictions and seeks to provide a resolution of indigeneity and racism
Cody also uses her music as a symbol of hope and as a medium of teaching and giving advice. She uses it to counsel and inspire other women; she has been in an abusive relationship, and most people in marriages and relationships can relate to her. She acts as a spokesperson for women overcoming abusive relationships and domestic violence. Cody is a victim, and her role as a musician is to give these women counsel and courage through music to help them get out of those relationships and family affairs At the age of 22, Cody was put in federal prison for being entangled with a drug dealer. However, after her release, she freed herself from the domestic violence trails and cleansed her spirit of her past painful experience. People were aware of her abusive and oppressive relationship with her drug-dealer boyfriend, and since she had the ability and power to leave him, she became an activist and advocated against domestic violence. Cody shares her personal experiences through the media and encourages people of a possible change.
Formation of Identity
Cody conveys her experiences and her life and career revivals through music and confronts the stigma of Blackness within Navajo culture (Jacobsen-Bia, 390). Notably, Cody challenged Dine to accept the mixed-race people as they are part of the Navajo Nation. She can also express different understanding levels to other races, to African Americans it is the understanding about Blackness in a white world, while to the indigenous people and the non-Blacks she is an attractive and exotic singer (Gorman).
Its role in society is the fact; these actions helped people of color to step out of the darkness and appreciate their appearance and embrace Cody as one of their own.
Essential Elements, Music interpretation, and Social Assumptions
Music has intrinsic value to people; communities and its performance rights are allowed regarding principles that the specific group establishes through long practice. Native Americans transmit their traditional cultures through oral tradition, commonly music. Some genres such as soul music or social dance songs get taught to the people through the use of different elements; it could be through a particular dance, use of words, or participation and imitation. People of the said community will learn and practice songs under the supervision of elders and in the future teach the next generation the same. It is to ensure they never lose their culture. Cody uses repetition of phrases and drums together with other traditional instruments as essential elements that contribute to the meaning of the Native American Culture (Davis, 301). Different other factors make her performance unique, her traditional skip dance performance in the Navajo Language, use of melismas, note glides, and a background voice sung by men.
Conventions of the Larger Genre
Native Americans will interpret and evaluate performances according to the connection created between the musician and their culture (Davis, 302). Cody’s music interpretation conforms comfortably to the racial subjugation theme supporting the idea that the world continues suffering from the racism; white dominance over the Native American people. As a biracial, one is likely to compel pity and charity, but Cody through her music is empowered and liberated. People interpret her music as a person with the willingness and power to transform and evolve as a Navajo/African American woman. Her experiences rely upon the trope of an abused Native American woman, who received punishment for her sins and emerged triumphant in telling other women and victims of her transformative story.
Native Americans have extraordinarily diverse traditions as it has many native communities; they use music to unify them. Every community has important musical concepts and values about their origins and values. Native American music has various roles in the culture, and despite their great diversity, people use the music to summarize their traditional concepts and values. They use the music to trace their traditional music origin to the time of music creation. Radmilla claims her identity as a Dine woman representing the Native American culture and she uses her music as a form of expressive culture. In her case kinship and culture hold a precarious balance on people’s lives and her singing foregrounds tensions concerning the religion. Her style encompasses more of salient markers of the Navajo language and perpetuates the idea of Navajo cultural continuity in the modern generation. Her traditional Navajo foundation was established in her younger years by her grandmother and her uncle. Her Native American Cultured songs are well-received by the people from all races. Through the use of her voice, Cody brings together the traditional and the contemporary groups of people. Markedly, through her singing, despite bringing her cultural awareness back, she reveals about racial identity, relationships and blood quantum. These are the common issues that tribal citizenship in Native America regions goes through in their lives
Brown, Ryan A., Daniel L. Dickerson, and Elizabeth J. D’Amico. “Cultural identity among urban American Indian/Alaska Native youth: Implications for alcohol and drug use.” Prevention Science 17.7 (2016): 852-861.
Davis, LaRose. “Crossing Waters, Crossing Worlds: The African Diaspora in Indian Country edited by Tiya Miles and Sharon Holland Durham: Duke University Press (2006), ISBN 9780822338123, 364 pp., Hardbound, 84.95; Paperback, 23.95.” (2008): 301-302.
Gorman, Colleen. “Navajo Sovereignty Through The Lens Of Creativity, Imagination, And Vision.” Navajo Sovereignty: Understandings and Visions of the Diné People(2017): 139.
Jacobsen-Bia, Kristina. “Radmilla’s voice: music genre, blood quantum, and belonging on the Navajo nation.” Cultural Anthropology 29.2 (2014): 385-410.
Radmilla Cody- A Beautiful Dawn Music Video. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xny8znDmPUY
There are some grammatical errors, and the Thesis Statement needs a little work and the paragraph needs to be a little longer. Who is Cody? Briefly introduce her here in the thesis
Briefly explain what K’é kinship is to the reader, as they may not know what it is. Additionally there are a few grammatical errors.
Consider rewording sentence to make for a stronger and clearer one.
Some more details are needed here to connect the reader with the text and the music.
Some spelling errors but overall a powerful paragraph.
A few more details about she overcame her past and uses her music to inspire others and gain strength from it.
This is a very interesting essay about a strong woman who uses her talents and background to stand up and out. It has some grammatical and spelling errors which are easily fixable. Add some more details to essay to make for a more powerful piece that would help the reader connect to the text, the music, and the woman behind it. (use MLA format for the areas that need it)