I'm Native American. We're automatically country, joined to the land and the real stories of everyday people. A long time ago, we traditionally used music as our daily prayer and as our way of giving thanks. To Native Americans, music is our everything. It's our storytelling, our history, and our dance. We use it to remember and to forget. It's how we celebrate life and mourn death.
I wrote my first song at 9, not knowing that songwriting would become my way of coping with the hopelessness I saw around me on the reservation. Growing up, I watched too many people lose hope and leave this earth, including cousins and many friends of mine. I watched as my brothers lost almost every childhood friend before they were 16. But music was my hope. It saved me, and it became a doorway for me to find freedom from the hopelessness that we all felt on the reservation. Loretta Lynn was my childhood hero and she continues to be that for me today.
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