Advertise:   712.224.5420

Jodi Rave: Black Indians struggle for acceptance

"Radmilla Cody grew up in a Navajo world, butchering sheep, raising goats and speaking Dine.

Yet many in her tribe - and her family - never accepted her. Her maternal uncle called her a black pig.

Neighborhood kids taunted her with names like �Zhinii Zhinii coco puff,� a Navajo slur for blacks.

Even when Cody was crowned Miss Navajo Nation, some complained she could not represent the country's largest tribe.

Cody was born to a Navajo mother and a black father.

She grew up knowing her mother considered giving her up. But her grandmother filled those empty spaces with kindness, reminding the girl she was special and beautiful - like ancient canyon walls against a turquoise sky.

She wanted a place among the Navajo, and she learned to embrace her two cultures.

�I identify more with the Navajo side,� said Cody, now 29. �But I love the black side as well. That is who I am.�

Who she is - part Native, part black - is at the heart of a growing debate about Native identity."

Get the Story:
Natives who are black struggling to gain acceptance from their own tribes (The Missoulian 12/4)

Relevant Links:
Jodi Rave Lee -

Related Stories:
Jodi Rave: Deloria represented human adventure (11/17)
Jodi Rave: Applause for Gov. Schweitzer at NCAI (11/07)
Jodi Rave: Natives pay for health care with lives (10/24)
Jodi Rave: Group to propose Tribal Justice Act (10/10)
Jodi Rave: Blackfeet citizens invest in their future (10/03)
Jodi Rave: Media needs more Native journalists (9/23)
Jodi Rave: Indian Country guide an essential tool (09/13)
Jodi Rave: Free press in Indian Country a big issue (08/15)
Jodi Rave: The best fry bread in Indian Country? (7/29)
Jodi Rave: Tragedy on the Red Lake Reservation (07/11)
Jodi Rave: Blackfeet opera lacks authenticity (07/11)
Jodi Rave: Reporting on reservations is improving (06/02)
Jodi Rave: Hope remains after mother's passing (05/11)
Jodi Rave: Fewer and fewer Indians in newsrooms (04/25)
Jodi Rave: 'No Media' sign at Red Lake not for me (04/14)
Jodi Rave: Indians don't pay taxes and other myths (03/11)
Jodi Rave: Deloria unknown because he's Indian (01/24)
Jodi Rave: Native participation needed in politics (01/10)
Jodi Rave: What was 'Kokopelli' professor thinking? (12/15)
Jodi Rave Lee: It feels good to be a grandmother (11/23)
Jodi Rave: Native veterans denied home loans (11/11)
Jodi Rave: Indian issues need more than a month (11/9)
Jodi Rave Lee: Protecting rights of Native voters (11/04)
Jodi Rave Lee: Trail tells story of Nez Perce (10/12)
Jodi Rave: Mixed emotions surround NMAI opening (09/27)
Jodi Rave Lee: Native image on coin inspires pride (09/14)
Jodi Rave Lee: Indians, Iraqis have much in common (08/30)
Jodi Rave Lee: Gag order sign of poor leadership (08/09)
Jodi Rave Lee: Native presence can't be denied (08/02)
Jodi Rave Lee: Warrior spirit gives Natives hope (07/06)