Thursday, November 29, 2012

Radmilla Cody Sings "The Dawn Song"

Above, "of the Tła’a’schi’i’ (Red Bottom People) clan and... born [of] the Naahiłii (African-Americans)," is Radmilla Cody, the "Navajo model, award-winning singer, and anti-domestic violence activist who was the 46th Miss Navajo from 1997 to 1998," who spoke at our school today. I took my Saudi students to see her as a class assignment. What a lovely human being! She had a rough life, to be sure, both on the rez (where she was born) and in the city, but a great maternal grandmother, who spoke no English, to guide her. (I, too, had a great maternal grandmother to guide me.)

The audience steered her into the boring and diversionary area of identity politics, and her boilerplate condemnations Columbus Day (can understand that) and Thanksgiving (can't really understand that) were thankfully brief low-points in her hour-and-a-half talk. (Cf. her singing The Star-Spangled Banner (Navajo Lyrics) (National Anthem).) I'm no left-liberal, so am tolerant enough to handle diversity of opinion. And when she did talk to me, perhaps the only DWEM left in the room at the time, she offered her hand with such radiant warmth and genuine human interest that I knew she was the real deal and no empty ideologue. It was a pleasure to be in the presence of a person with true grace and dignity. She closed with the above song.

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