Stars shine at NAMMYs
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NOVEMBER 13, 2000

It was cold outside, but inside the Popejoy Hall in Albuquerque, New Mexico, it was hotter than ever, as the Third Annual Native American Music Awards finally came to town this past Saturday.

Hosted by an animated Rodney A. Grant, Omaha Tribe of Nebraska, the actor got the night off to an early start with enthusiasm and excitement. He was just one of many entertainers who graced the stage as presenters, performers, but most of all, as winners.

And winners there were. To almost no one's surprise, Aleut / Seminole flutist Mary Youngblood took home several honors for Heart of the World including Female Artist of the Year, Flutist of the Year, and Best New Age Recording.

Also nominated for Artist of the Year, Youngblood seemed likely to win. To his amazement, but to great appreciation of the crowd, legendary activist John Trudell took home the award instead.

"I'm unprepared," said a shocked Trudell. He probably shouldn't have been surprised, as his Blue Indians release also captured honors for Song of the Year.

Unfortunately, Trudell didn't perform at the show, but that didn't dampen the evening. Taos Pueblo's Robert Mirabal, who won Songwriter of the Year for Taos Tales , brought the crowd to an early high with a theatrical and dramatic performance.

Blues-rock favorites Indigenous treated the crowd not only to one song but two, both from their latest release Circle. The band won Group of the Year and Best Blues Recording for Live at Pachyderm Studio 1998.

But if there were an award for best performance at the show, it should have gone to Medicine Dream. The group traveled all the way from Alaska and put in a tight, spirited performance.

The night wasn't all about music, however. The Navajo Code Talkers, who helped the United States win World War II, were honored as Living Legends in a fitting Veterans Day tribute.

"They asked us to say a few words, but we don't know what to say," said Sam Billison, president of the Navajo Code Talkers Association. "Maybe talk in code."

Native athletes were also on display Saturday, as Isleta Pueblo / Navajo golfer Notah Begay III was on hand to receive the Jim Thorpe Sports Award. It was appropriately presented to him by a fellow sportster, Navajo Indy racecar driver Cory Witherill.

The night's best tribute was that given by an emotional Judy Trejo to her husband, who passed away last week. Trejo's Stick Game Song won Best Historical Recording.

Tune into Indianz.Com in the coming weeks for pictures, interviews, features, and more on all of your favorite celebrities!

Relevant Links:
The Native American Music Awards -
Rodney A. Grant -
Mary Youngblood -
John Trudell -
Robert Mirabal -
Medicine Dream -
Indigenous -
Cory Witherill Bio -