header image

[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Partly cloudy
Partly cloudy
71°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
August 5
1891 - Post office established at Saugus depot; renamed Surrey in 1906 [story]
Surrey


heavy metal unifying indigenous communities
Navajo tribal councilmember Ed Yazzie at the drums during a performance. CSUN history professor Natale Zappia has recently completed work on a documentary and co-authored a book about the heavy metal music scene on the Navajo reservation. Photo by Ashkan Soltani Stone.

 

Amidst the screaming guitars, pounding drums and hair flying headbanging, heavy metal music is providing a unifying outlet for indigenous communities across the United States, said California State University, Northridge history professor Natale Zappia.

Zappia said the power of heavy metal music — with its aggressive sounds and distorted electric guitars — is bridging generations and bringing together communities from disparate corners of Indian Country, particularly on Navajo reservations.

“It’s so loud, and the beat is so demanding. It’s hard to understand how it’s captured entire communities,” said Zappia, an associate professor in CSUN’s Department of History. “But when you get there, and you listen and talk to people, you realize that it’s a very cathartic activity.

“For native communities like the Diné (Navajo) people, metal gives them meaning that cuts through the difficulties of reservation life,” he said. “It offers them a very physical and musical outlet for telling their own indigenous stories, and expressing their frustrations, fears and even hopes about what it is like to live in their corner of the world.”

heavy metal unifying indigenous communities

The band I Don’t Konform playing in a hogan on the Navajo reservation. Photo by Ashkan Soltani Stone.

Zappia recently completed work on a documentary and co-authored a book with filmmaker Ashkan Soltani Stone, founding director of film studies at Weber State University, on the subject.

Both are called “Rez Metal,” and they provide a look into the heavy metal music scene on the Navajo reservation. The documentary is currently on the film festival circuit, while the book is available on Amazon.

“Everyone we talked to for the documentary told us the same thing: ‘Metal helps create meaning for us,’” Zappia said. “And then they would always say that heavy metal ‘was Navajo’ — it was indigenous.”

The speakers would then point out that heavy metal music, much like members of Indigenous communities, remains “on the fringe of the mainstream” and regularly “goes against the grain,” Zappia said.

In doing his research, Zappia said he was surprised to find that many of the Navajo reservations’ tribal leaders embraced the music, seeing it as way to connect with members of the younger generation. Some, he said, even played in metal bands.

Navajo Tribal President Jonathan Nez (who is featured in the book and film) is a huge metal head, and he has created programming and venues to support the scene on the reservation. Zappia said Nez and other tribal leaders see the music as a way to have honest dialogue with young people.

“He saw the music as a way to overcome that feeling of alienation,” Zappia said. “He encouraged the young people to make the music a vehicle for expressing what is happening in their community, to make it their own, something to be proud of.”

Zappia said heavy metal music has been embraced by indigenous communities around the world for many of the same reasons Native communities in the United States have embraced it.

“You’ll find that every corner of the world has a metal scene,” he said. “Malta, Indonesia, Thailand, much of Southeast Asia, they all have metal scenes. It’s kind of associated with post-industrial communities who have been left behind — communities who have been disenfranchised, who are on the margins. But it also connects with rural communities like the Navajo Nation as well. “Metal speaks to their outsider status and gives voice to what they are feeling,” he said.

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

0 Comments

You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment


HIGHER EDUCATION LINKS
LOCAL COLLEGE HEADLINES
Friday, Jul 30, 2021
College of the Canyons has received a $74,707 Campus as a Living Lab (CALL) grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to provide opportunities for underrepresented community college students to engage in undergraduate research focusing on native bees.
Tuesday, Jul 27, 2021
The California State University announced Tuesday that it will require faculty, staff and students who are accessing campus facilities at any university location to be immunized against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
Monday, Jul 26, 2021
College of the Canyons announced it will host a weeklong Fall Rush event Aug. 2 to 6 to assist new students with the registration process.
Friday, Jul 23, 2021
The Soraya, located at the California State University, Northridge campus, announced it is celebrating both its 10th Anniversary and its reopening with a special gift of five free concerts to welcome back and thank its loyal audience.
Monday, Jul 19, 2021
Rep. Mike Garcia, R-Santa Clarita, announced this week he secured $1 million for College of the Canyons and $610,000 for Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital to be included in the 2022 Labor, Health, and Human Services Appropriations bill.
Keep Up With Our Facebook

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
1891 - Post office established at Saugus depot; renamed Surrey in 1906 [story]
Surrey
The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station, in partnership with “RG Brake & Alignment” in Valencia, will be hosting a free ‘Catalytic Converter Etching Event’ throughout the month of August.
SCV Sheriff Station Holds Several Catalytic Converter Etching Events
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health also confirmed Wednesday 16 new deaths and 3,734 new cases of COVID-19 countywide, with 30,398 total cases in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Wednesday COVID-19 Roundup: SCV Cases Total 30,398; L.A. County Reports Death Of A Person Under 12
Allyson Felix, pursuing a U.S.-record 10th Olympic track and field medal, qualified for the women’s 400-meter finals on Wednesday morning, posting the fastest time she has run this season in one of three semifinals that set the field for Friday’s final race.
Olympics: Santa Clarita Raised Athlete Qualifies For 400-Meter Final
The L.A. County Board Of Supervisors has allocated $22 million for arts and creative recovery from the American Rescue Act.
L.A. Supervisors Allocate $22 Million For Arts And Creative Recovery
Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital’s cardiology team gathered Tuesday to unveil the Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement, or TAVR, a cutting-edge cardiac procedure.
New Cardiac Technology Comes to Henry Mayo
Senator Scott Wilk announced that his recent bill unanimously passed in the state senate this past Tuesday. 
Wilk Bill To Urge Congress For Funding Students With Disabilities Passed By State Senate
Recently, the Los Angeles County Animal Care and Control released a COVID-19 Impact Report detailing the Department’s response to the pandemic and resulting operational changes.
Animal Care and Control Releases Covid-19 Impact Report, New Adoption Program
The community is rallying behind a 16-year-old Golden Valley High School student who is fighting to save her leg after she was hit by a car while riding a scooter.
Acton Teen Fights To Save Her Leg After A Car Struck her
1992 - Pardee House (ex-Good Templars Lodge) moved to Heritage Junction/Hart Park [story]
Pardee House
The Castaic Education Foundation Welcome Wagon announced it will be touring the Castaic community on Monday, Aug. 4, and Friday, Aug. 6 to visit students and their families as the first day of school closes in.
Castaic Education Foundation Welcome Wagon to Tour Castaic Community, Visit Students
Officials at the Santa Clarita Film Office said they have been “busy” in the last few months, a change from the March-June period from last year in which no productions were allowed to roll their cameras.
Santa Clarita Film Office Reports Over $34M Generated in 2021 Fiscal Year
Public comments from local organizations and residents submitted to the Los Angeles County Citizens Redistricting Commission this summer sent a uniform message to commissioners: Keep Los Angeles’s north county communities together.
SCV Residents, Groups Ask Redistricting Commission to Keep North County Communities Together
During Hispanic Heritage Month this year, Assemblywoman Suzette Valladares, R-Santa Clarita, will recognize constituents of Hispanic descent who have contributed to their community in the 38th Assembly District.
Valladares Opens Nominations for Hispanic Heritage Month Honorees
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has identified the first case of human West Nile virus infection in L.A. County for the 2021 season.
Public Health Confirms First 2021 Case of West Nile Virus in LA County
On Tuesday, Los Angeles County Public Health officials confirmed 20 new deaths and 2,293 new cases of COVID-19 countywide, with 30,273 total cases in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Tuesday COVID-19 Roundup: 30,273 Total SCV Cases; Public Health to Host Virtual Town Hall on Schools Wednesday
The Los Angeles County Health Officer has issued a Heat Alert for the Santa Clarita Valley beginning Wednesday, Aug. 4.
LA County Health Officer Issues Heat Alert for SCV Beginning Wednesday
The Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation is inviting the public to provide input to help inform future planning and funding to address regional and rural park and recreation needs.
Countywide Effort Encourages Residents to Help Identify Regional, Rural Park Needs
Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital is now offering Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR), a cutting-edge minimally-invasive procedure to replace narrowed aortic valves that fail to properly open.
Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital Acquires TAVR Technology
Santa Clarita City Manager Ken Striplin has been recognized with the 2021 Award for Career Excellence in Memory of Mark E. Keane, a prestigious award given to one honoree each year from nominations of city managers across the country and around the globe.
City Manager Recognized With International Award of Excellence
As you drive around Santa Clarita, do you ever wonder what work is being done at your neighborhood park? Or when the new Sheriff’s Station will be complete? Maybe you want to go ice skating at The Cube or find out what issues are going before the City Council. There are several ways you can discover what’s going on in your city.
City Manager Ken Striplin: Connect With Your City
1975 - Henry Mayo Newhall (Memorial) Hospital opens with 100 beds [story]
HMNMH
Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital reported an additional death on Monday, bringing the total of COVID-19 related deaths to 153, hospital spokesman Patrick Moody said.
Monday COVID-19 Roundup: Henry Mayo Officials Report 153rd Death; Urge Those Eligible to Get Vaccinated
The Santa Clarita Public Library is excited to announce the return of the Summer Book Bag Sale!
Aug. 7-15: Friends of Santa Clarita Library Hosting Summer Book Bag Sale
%d bloggers like this: