STA to Present Navajo Family Blues Band Friday

By SHANNON HAUGLAND

Sentinel Staff Writer

Diné bluesman Levi Platero and his family band will take the stage Friday for a “sober night of Indigenous music.”

Levi Platero. (Photo via Facebook)


The free concert “Choose Your Medicine Wisely,” will be presented at 7 p.m. at the Sheet’ká Kwáan Naa Kahídi.

The concert, sponsored by Sitka Tribe of Alaska, will feature blues and dance music by Platero and two family members, and is for all ages.

The opening act is Anel Y Los Vatos, of Sitka. The event also will feature information about opioid use and community recovery resources.

Platero, a citizen of Navajo Nation, is a Navajo bluesman who grew up in the Gospel circuit. “I have this huge cultural background and I’m very proud of that, but I’m also a blues guy,” he said.

Platero and his family are coming to Sitka from New Mexico for the concert. Sitka Tribe of Alaska is sponsoring the show, using special funding from the Native American Tribal Opioid Settlement, designated for opioid abatement.

“The Tribe sees and recognizes use of opioids and other substances as a response to pain and trauma,” said STA social services director Melonie Boord. She said an Indigenous blues artist is a good fit with the Tribe’s mission and work.

STA is offering access to “good medicine” – such as music – to promote healing, she said. 

“The blues are an acknowledgment of the pain we have experienced as Native people, but music is good energy,” Boord said. “When we sing, dance and experience rhythm we make room in our bodies for joy.”

Boord said the focus will be on the music, but there will be a table with information about opioids and addiction, and Narcan kits for those interested.

“We will not be using any scare tactics because most of us have already heard about the risks of using opioids – in particular fentanyl,” Boord said. “We do want to talk about healing and provide opportunities for the good medicine. When we take away substances, we want to add the good medicine for healthy coping.”

Boord provided a list of healthy coping options: being out in nature; smudging with cedar, sage and sweetgrass; cold water dipping; gathering traditional foods; making regalia; learning Native language; taking saunas in sweatlodges; sitting by the fire; breathwork through yoga, exercise and meditation; participating in community; getting counseling and “making positive experiences for our children.”

Tickets are available for free from the STA Social Services office at 204 Siginaka Way, during business hours.

STA is a federally recognized tribal government under the 1934 Indian Reorganization Act that serves more than 4,500 citizens of Tlingit, Haida, Aleut, Tsimshian and other Tribal heritage. STA operates within the City and Borough of Sitka.

 

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