Jana, named Best Female Artist at this years Native
American Music Awards, received a a warm welcome when she visited
Shonto Preparatory School on Nov. 25.
and faculty greeted her at the school gates and congratulated her
on her latest achievement.
presented her Janas Kids program to kindergarten
through 12th-grade students, which involved a great deal of interaction
and included a free CD of Stairway to Heaven to each
educational, entertaining, and motivational program included music,
dance, questions and answers. In an hour, Jana highlighted Native
pride and identity while also discussing attendance and parental
comes from Lumbee community, tribe of 50,000 members in North Carolina
whom are not federally recognized. They are the second largest tribe
east of the Mississippi River. Years ago, it was a capital crime
to speak their native language.
a decade ago did they start to rewrite their language through oral
tradition. Jana admits that she only knows a couple words in her
language, but she can sing the National Anthem in her language.
As she becomes a prominent figure in reinventing her native language,
she is very much a traditional Lumbee.
identifies herself as an Urban Indian which only means
that she can live in two worlds. Her music, dance, and fashion are
all influenced by her Native traditions and customs.
at Shonto, she set a new record for autographing pictures for each
student. All students attended and some parents came as well to
enjoy the special interactive performance.
performance planted renewed energy by reviving school spirit. To
the students, she is a survivor and a determined warrior who keeps
her tradition alive and well. At home, she participates in tribal
ceremonies and celebrations.
her performance, the native flute could be heard and in her dance
routine, she integrated the eagle dance. Not only was she dancing
with her two background dancers, Caroline Leppeden and Tabatha Arocho,
Shontos native dancers in full regalia joined her on the stage
much to the enthusiastic crowd.
seventh-grade student, Scottie Nez, admitted to Jana that he does
not attend classes consistently. However, he expressed a strong
interest in mathematics. His math teacher confirmed this.
exchange for a CD, Scottie and Jana made a pact that he would attend
school the following week without missing a day. Jana asked his
friends to call her if he doesnt show up at school, especially
the week, the seventh graders kept tabs on him each day. Scottie
kept his promise.
Jana found out about Scotties progress she sent a note back
to the school.
you so much for telling me about Scottie and how he attended his
Math class everyday, she wrote. I was very moved to
hear that he not only went to class, but participated and performed
very well in his studies. I just wanted to say how proud I am of
Scottie, and that he lived up to his word when he promised to go
to class every day. Scottie has set an example for all of the kids
at Shonto Preparatory School.
had such a wonderful time when I visited the school. All the students
at your school were very kind and respectful to me and I see them
as the leaders of our future. Thank you again, for letting me know
of this wonderful progress of Scottie.
see more photos of Janas visit and video clips of her presentation,