Local Native American musician honored

Local Native American musician honored

Windwalker Dorn with her Outstanding Legacy Award and her CD “We Are One.” Courtesy photo

Windwalker Dorn of Luis Lopez, a Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter in the Native American tradition, was honored at the Akademia Music Awards event in Los Angeles in June, where she received the Outstanding Legacy Award.

The Akademia Music Awards is dedicated to recognizing top musical talent from all across the globe.

The award is connected to her CD “We Are One,” an ambient instrumental album for meditation for the environment with harp, handheld dulcimer, drum and flute.

She also won for Song of the Year. “It was in the category of Authentic Native American Music for the song White Sky,” she said. “I was very humbled.”

Dorn has four albums to her credit, including a Grammy nomination in 2016 in the category of Best Regional Roots Music Album as Windwalker Dorn & the MCW.

MCW is short for Multi-Cultural Women.

“It’s been received very well because being traditional, we have history and it’s worked. It’s always worked. We are matriarchs, so matrilineal,” she said. “The women are the ones who make the last decisions in our nation because we are the life-givers. And as life-givers, we are keepers of the music, the traditions, the teachings.”

Dorn’s first four albums were traditional.

“The traditional songs were from the three tribes in my ancestry,” she said. “Some are in language. Vocables, which are Yah and Wah. That way, we could share our songs without having to teach our languages.

Two years ago, during a particularly dry spell, Dorn led a group from Socorro in performing a rain dance at the farm of Corky Herkenhoff.

“It was to transform the dryness and the drought into rain,” Dorn said. “When I did that dance, with all honor and respect, we offered cornmeal first right at the beginning of the ceremony as an offering and everyone had some seeds.

“In New England, we didn’t have rain dances. What we did was water prayers, and then we gifted cornmeal,” she said. “I am originally from New England. My mother’s tribe is Mi’kmaq from Maine. My dad was Cherokee and Lenape, out of Pennsylvania. I was born into the Fox Clan. My dad was in the Bird Clan.”

She said she learned many traditional ways at an early age.

“I’ve been taught since the age of 4,” Dorn said. “My grandmother taught me basically everything.  She would say I wear my moccasins in two canoes. One in the outside world, and teach it, and one in the traditional world to keep that tradition going.”

“The traditional songs are passed down from my father, some were passed down mostly from the Cherokee elders and the Mi’kmaq elders,” she said. “My first music was all the traditional Native American music with the drumming from the Cherokee and Lenape and the Mi’kmaq that I’ve learned through the years. I was the carrier of those songs and also taught those songs. And prayers for different dances.

“The traditional women’s dance for anything has to do with mother earth and father sky,” Dorn said. “When they dance, their foot never really leaves the mother. Also very soft. Ball of the foot first and then put the heel down. And the reason they do that is to be soft on mother earth.”

Other CDs by Windwalker Dorn &The MCW include Generations and Seeds of the Earth.

In addition to her music, Dorn leads workshops across the country.

“In addition, I am an herbalist and aromatherapist,” Dorn said. “I grow my own herbs and teas. It goes back to my great-great-grandmother. Back then, it wasn’t cool to be an Indian, and it certainly wasn’t cool to be a medicine woman.”

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