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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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Keeping up with the Yazzies

Keeping up with the Yazzies

The Authenticity of Class and Geographic Boundaries

(p.31) Chapter One Keeping up with the Yazzies
Sound of Navajo Country

Kristina M. Jacobsen

University of North Carolina Press

Chapter 1 examines Navajo country music through the lens of geography (in particular through discussions of difference between the Arizona and New Mexico portions of “the rez”), focusing on the use of the culturally intimate term jaan, or “john,” to describe rural, “hick,” or hillbilly reservation identities. I then turn to country vocalist, drummer, and bandleader Candice Craig (of the Kinyaa’áanii, or Towering House Clan), analyzing how class, place-based and jaan identities are reflected and parodied in her own performances of Merle Haggard’s “Okie from Muskogee” and Gretchen Wilson’s “Redneck Woman.” Here, I analyze Craig’s embracing of a working-class, “rezneck” sociophonetic identity as a refusal to adhere to race- and place-based definitions of Diné identity, stretching the boundaries of what it means for a Navajo female performer to “sound” and be Diné.

Keywords:   Navajo country music, cultural intimacy, jaan, Candice Craig, “Okie from Muskogee”, “Redneck Woman”, rezneck, Diné identity, sounding Navajo

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