By Brenda Norrell
LOS ANGELES -- On Censored Blog Radio, Clayson Benally of Blackfire, the Navajo family band that captured the Native American Music Award Record of the Year and Native Heart Award for "Silence is a Weapon," speaks to Native American youths about remaining true to themselves. While holding his 10-month-old daughter in downtown Los Angeles, Benally also shares the joy of being a new parent.
Benally reflects on racism and colonialism in the US and describes Blackfire's travels around the world. Blackfire is comprised of Clayson, his sister Jeneda and brother Klee. With both traditional and rock sounds, the award winning Blackfire band inspires Native Americans to resist oppression and injustice and protect sacred places, including San Francisco Peaks. Blackfire has become a symbol of hope for Indigenous Peoples around the world resisting tyranny.
Next, Censored Blog Radio focuses on Indigenous rights in California, from sacred places to southern California racism. On American Indian Airways, Dr. Michelle Rehaja, Seneca professor, describes racism and colonialism at her child's school during Thanksgiving, fueled by rightwing radio. The situation was so serious that police patrols had to be increased in her neighborhood.
Then, on Alcatraz at sunrise, California Natives Joey Silva and Mark LeBeau speak about Pitt River and Medicine Lake. Quanah Parker, whose father Lehman Brightman founded United Native Americans in the 60s, and Charlie Hill speak on human rights. Mohawk Mark Maracle speaks on prisons and reservations, recorded by Alcatraz Free Radio.
Keith Secola at the AIM West 40-Year Reunion sings Fry Bread and NDN Cars. Yankton Dakota protesting the hog farm in South Dakota offer a song, recorded by Earthcycles. The final sound is Blackfire's "Silence is a Weapon."
Listen to Censored Blog Radio:
Photo: Clayson Benally with his daughter in Los Angeles. Alcatraz Sunrise Gathering, November 2008. Photos Brenda Norrell