Navajo punk musician Rebecca Jones says Nizhoni Girls performance will also fund an “Honor the Matriarch” festival.
Rebecca Jones is a Dine’ powerhouse in the Albuquerque punk rock music scene. At just 29, Jones has already been in four bands and recorded a solo project. Her newest group, an all-girl band, Nizhoni Girls (beautiful girls in the Dine’ language), will debut Gathering of Nations weekend, April 28th at the Moonlight Lounge.
“We’ve been practicing as much as we can.” Jones said to ICMN of the upcoming show.
The benefit show at the Moonlight Lounge will also feature other Native bands, including Litter Brain, Midnight Stew, Lilith, Nite Kidz and The Flossies.
Jones says it was hard in high school to find female-fronted or all-girl bands, let alone indigenous ones. She cites a female-fronted ska band from Leupp, Arizona, The Ch’izhii’s, as her inspiration.
The Adszaa Warrior fest is to be organized by Jones, Liz Mackenzie (Dine’), and Lisa Lorenzo (Laguna pueblo) and is tentatively set for Window Rock, on June 17th. The official festival slogan will be “Honor the Matriarch.”
According to Jones, the festival will be an all-day event and all the bands will be all women-fronted or queer. The festival will be free, with the proceeds from the fundraising shows to go toward paying artists fees and food, and to pay guest speakers.
“We want to empower grandmas, aunts, sisters, cousins—all the girls—just to let them know they are important, they are worthy.” The festival also wants to empower the LGBTQ and two spirit communities.
“We want to empower other young girls, femmes, to start their own bands as well, especially on the reservation.”
In addition to her music, Jones hosts music workshops on the Navajo reservation. Following one with children at the Navajo Nation museum, a little girl approached Jones and asked to shake her hand. The girl said, “I didn’t know you were a rock star. Can I sit by you?”
Jones recalls the story fondly, “I was like, Yes of course! She was like, ‘I’m going to play guitar everyday!’ I was like, Do it! Do it! Play guitar!”
Though Jones says her band is brand new and will be posting content on social media soon, there are samples online of her previous endeavors. Here are songs from her group Weedrat on bandcamp: https://weedrat.bandcamp.com/releases.