Navajo Musicians Bring Hope To Native American Youth

Posted By Toyacoyah Brown June 2nd, 2015 Last Updated on: June 2nd, 2015


All Things Considered on NPR has a great interview with Navajo siblings Clayson, Jeneda and Klee Benally who are mentoring and helping youth find their own way in traditional culture, contemporary music and careers on and off the reservation.

Clayson, Jeneda and Klee Benally grew up on Black Mesa in northern Arizona, a place at the center of a land dispute between a coal mining company and the Navajo and Hopi tribes. The children of a traditional healer, they grew up protesting the coal mine and couldn't ignore what they saw as oppression and abuse of power. So they formed a punk rock group in the early '90s called Blackfire.

“There was a lot of anger,” Clayson recalls. Starting the band and performing was a way of “channeling that anger and frustration and putting it into something positive, as well.”

Now, about two decades later, Klee Benally has become an activist, and Jeneda and Clayson have formed a new band called Sihasin, which means “hope” in the Navajo language.

Check out the interview below:

Very inspiring! And here's a recent clip of Sihasin performing for NAZ Today:

I hope we get to hear more music from Sihasin! For more information on the band you can follow them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Sihasin.

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About Toyacoyah Brown

Toyacoyah Brown is an enrolled member of the Comanche Nation, currently living in Chicago. She received her B.A. in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and an M.A. in Media Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. When she's not scouring the Internet for fun things to share with PowWows.com readers you can find her digging for vinyl in her local record store or curling up with a good book.

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