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Sound of Navajo CountryMusic, Language, and Diné Belonging$
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Kristina M. Jacobsen

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781469631868

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469631868.001.0001

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The Intimate Nostalgia of Diné Country Music

The Intimate Nostalgia of Diné Country Music

(p.1) Introduction The Intimate Nostalgia of Diné Country Music
Sound of Navajo Country

Kristina M. Jacobsen

University of North Carolina Press

The introduction examines how Navajos strategically use sound, and speech and song in particular, in their social spaces and provides a history of country music performance on the Navajo Nation. Through a dual ethnographic focus on music and language, I consider how some expressions of Navajo identity are flexible and negotiated, while others—for example, an affective attachment to place and the lived experience of being from what Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall called a “domestic dependent nation”—are private, nonnegotiable, and often not shared in public contexts such as bars and chapter houses at all. Thus, musical and linguistic performances of Navajoness—also sometimes locally parsed in the broader frames of being Native, Indian and, less often, as “indigenous”—are publicly celebrated. Other expressions of identity—for example the culturally intimate use of the Navajo term for a working-class rube from the “sticks” known as a “jaan”—are elided or hidden from an outsider’s gaze.

Keywords:   Speech and song, music and language, Navajoness, Navajo country music, cultural intimacy, jaan, Navajo identity

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