Navajo-Hopi Nations,Flagstaff & Winslow News
Sat, Oct. 31

Blackfire, Benally family to take message of cultural survival, Indigenous resistance to U.S. Capitol

The traditional Diné (Navajo) dance group, The Jones Benally Family and their political alternative-punk rock band, Blackfire, will be performing free concerts at the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) in Washington, D.C., Aug.17-19.

The Benally family, a.k.a. Blackfire, who also work on social and environmental justice issues in and around their community will also present their documentary, "The Snowbowl Effect" which addresses sacred sites protection in northern Arizona.

The documentary focuses on the struggle to protect the San Francisco Peaks, which are held sacred by more than 13 Indigenous Nations.

A ski area which operates with approval from the U.S. Forest Service on the sacred mountain is attempting to expand its development and make artificial snow from treated sewage effluent.

Tribes and environmental groups have unified to block the proposed development with a recently successful lawsuit that has national impacts. The director of the documentary and Save the Peaks Coalition volunteers will be on hand to give updates on the issue and answer questions.

For more information visit: and

Events are scheduled as follows:

• Friday, Aug. 17, The Jones Benally Family Traditional Diné Dances, free performance at 12 noon, at the NMAI's Outdoor Amphitheater.

• Saturday, Aug. 18, "The Snowbowl Effect" free screenings at 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., at the NMAI's Rasmuson Theatre. This 56-minute documentary focuses on the struggle to protect the San Francisco Peaks, a sacred site in northern Arizona. A question and answer session with the director and volunteers of the Save the Peaks Coalition will follow.

• BLACKFIRE - Political Alternative-Punk Rock! free concert at 5:30 p.m., at the NMAI's Welcome Plaza.

• Sunday, Aug. 19, "The Snowbowl Effect" free screenings at 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. at the NMAI's Rasmuson Theatre.

• Blackfire Acoustic and The Jones Benally Family Traditional Diné Dances, free performance at 6 p.m., at NMAI's Kennedy Center Millenium Stage.


BLACKFIRE is comprised of two brothers and their sister Jeneda, Clayson and Klee Benally. Born into the heart of a political land dispute area on Black Mesa in the Navajo Nation, this family's powerful music reflects the hopes, freedoms and barriers of today's world. BLACKFIRE's style encompasses traditional Native American, punk rock and "Alter-Native" music and bears strong socio-political messages regarding government oppression, relocation of Indigenous people, eco-cide, genocide, domestic violence and human rights. BLACKFIRE sometimes combines performances with their Native American dance troupe, The Jones Benally Family.

The late godfather of punk Joey Ramone declared BLACKFIRE "Fireball Punk-Rock." BLACKFIRE is internationally acclaimed and has a strong grassroots following around the world owing to their frequent touring of Europe, the U.S., Canada and Mexico since 1989. 

They were the first Native American band to take part in on the Van's Warped Tour and were also featured performers in the "Festival in the Desert," in the Sahara Desert in Mali, Africa along with the Touareg group Tinariwen.

In the recent past, BLACKFIRE has been awarded the Native American Music Awards "Group of the Year" for their "Woody Guthrie Singles" recording, and "Best Pop/Rock Album for their full length release, "One Nation Under." For more information visit.

About the Jones Benally Family

From the Diné (Navajo) Nation, The Jones Benally Family has garnered national and international recognition performing their traditional cultural dances. World champion hoop dancer and traditional Navajo consultant Jones Benally, mesmerizes the audience with the stories and dance of the Diné (Navajo) culture.

With his children Jeneda, Klee and Clayson, the program enchants and teaches audiences about the traditional Diné ways that are allowed to be seen by the public.

The Jones Benally Family retains the traditional form of dance, song and story that has been carried on from the beginning of time. Their repertoire is extensive including histories of ceremonies, hunting, agriculture and the foundation of the Diné Culture.

The Jones Benally Family has performed in all corners of the planet from the tip of the arctic circle to the Sahara desert beyond Timbuktu. They also conduct residencies in schools and universities throughout the world. The Jones Benally Family has been featured on national and international television and radio and has been part of countless documentaries. For more information visit:

About the Snowbowl Effect

The film features the San Francisco Peaks, a series of mountains in northern Arizona sacred to 13 tribes.

Currently, a ski resort is proposing to expand and make snow with wastewater. The film explores the question: When recreation and culture collide, who pays the price?

The Snowbowl Effect explores the controversy surrounding the recently proposed ski resort expansion and snowmaking with wastewater on the San Francisco Peaks as Native American tribal officials and spiritual leaders, Forest Service officials, and concerned citizens discuss the issues: sacred lands protection, public health concerns associated with groundbreaking studies on wastewater, economic misconceptions, threats to the environment, global warming and a small community caught in the conflict. For more information visit

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