This is a wonderful interview with a Mixed Native American and African-American woman, who won the tile of “Miss Navajo Nation” recently. In it she talks about the shared history between the two cultures, which is surprising to many people.
Since the first arrival of enslaved Africans in North America, the relationships between African Americans and Native Americans have encompassed alliances and adversaries, as well as the indivisible blending of customs and culture.
“It’s not received a lot of attention because it’s not the dominant culture’s story, although it’s very important to the dominant culture’s bigger view of the past,” says James Nottage, curator of the exhibit, which includes narratives of enslaved blacks who traveled the Trail of Tears with their Native owners; slaves who intermarried into Native tribes as an escape from bondage; and the largely African-featured members of the Shinnecock tribe of New York, as well as shared traditions in food, dress and music.
Radmilla Cody, 35, a Native American Music Award-winning singer and anti-domestic violence activist, is also featured in the exhibit. The daughter of a Navajo mother and an African-American father, Cody was raised by her grandmother in the Arizona Navajo community, initially speaking only the Navajo language. In 1997 she was crowned Miss Navajo Nation, sparking controversy from some members who refused to accept her.
Good for her in that she fully embraces both her cultures. And good for all of us that her very public presence is educating many on a relationship that is not all that uncommon.
Here is the full article.