The Grammy Awards is a ceremonycreated by The National Academy ofRecording Arts and Sciences to recognizeoutstanding musical achievements. TheGrammy Award was established in 1958.Originally the award was called theGramophone Awards. The AwardCeremony was promoted to be the daddyof all award shows.
The first ceremony was held on May 4, 1959 to honor musicians for their accomplishments for the previous year. There were only 26 categories the first year.Best Vocal Performance, Male Best Vocal Performance, FemalePerry Como – Catch A Fallen Star Ella Fitzgerald- Duke of Ellingotn Song Book
The categories have grown over the years from 26-109
2001 Grammy Award for Best Native American Music Album
The Grammy Award for BestNative American Music Album isan award presented at the 43rdGrammy Awards Ceremony (2001)to recording artists for qualityalbums in the Native Americanmusic genre.
Ellen Bello, founder of the NativeAmerican Music Awards and the NativeAmerican Music Association foughtthree years to get Native AmericanMusic as a category. Previous to 2001Native American Music was notrepresented as its’ own category.
According to the category description guidefor the 52nd Grammy Awards, the award ispresented to "vocal or instrumental NativeAmerican music albums containing at least51% playing time of newly recordedmusic", with the intent to honor recordingsof a more "traditional nature".
Per Allbusiness.com 2001The creation of a Native American musiccategory for the 43rd annual Grammy Awardsin 2001 brought long overdue mainstreamrecognition to one of the most vital anddiverse genres in contemporary music.“Today, Native American pop is standing in thewings," says j. poet, who has writtenextensively on the subject for the NationalAcademy of Recording Arts & Sciences(NARAS). "Its a position not dissimilar to thatof alternative rock at the end of the 80s, andthere are several Native artists ready to takethe music to the next level.
Bill Miller, NativeAmerican ArtistWon 2 Grammys since2001
Mary YoungbloodNorthern California NativeAmerican FlutistShe won 2 Grammy Awards
The Native American Music Awards alsoknown as the “Nammies” has beencelebrating the accomplishments ofNative American Artist since 1998
Melissa Sanchez , co-owner of Emergence Productionsanswered in an interview with Albi.comWhat did it mean to people when the Native Americancategory was introduced in 2001?I think it was a coup. It was really exciting because it wouldbe a recognition of the types of Native American music thatare out there. Its so diverse. It was also in a few of ourminds in the industry: How will this carry through becauseof the diversity? You have traditional music, traditionalmixed with contemporary—it just goes on and on. Thosewere some of the first questions, but overall, the categorybeing included was a victory
The Native American GrammyAward Category lasted a decade.The removal of the categorystunned many people.
The La Times Reported“All categories will remain, theyll just be found in different genres,"said President and Chief Executive Neil Portnow. "The message isntabout cutting, its about changing the way we present the awards.We welcome all artists who make music in the Grammy process, itsjust going to look a little different."Since 1959, the number of award categories has expanded from anoriginal 28, evolving one category at a time on a piecemeal basisand "without an overall vision," Portnow said. The result has beenmore of a "collage," he said, "without a continuity across thevarious genre fields." The restructuring, he said, would give theGrammys a more cohesive structure that better mirrors the currentmusical landscape.Cont.
Academy officials said that the restructuring processbegan in 2009, when the organization initiated acomprehensive evaluation of both the awardcategories and voting procedures. The awards andnominations committee spent more than a year onthe review, said five-time Grammy Award-winnerand songwriter/record producer Jimmy Jam. It thensubmitted its recommendations to the RecordingAcademys board of trustees."We tried to make the numbers match up and be fairacross the board," said Jam, who was chairman ofthe board of trustees at that time and also served onthe awards and nominations committee
Neil Portnon said at the pressconference“Diligent research, carefulanalysis, and thoughtfuldiscussion of all Fields resultedin an overarching frameworkand a restructuring of Categoriesto 78, and ensures that everysubmission continues to have ahome”
According to the Trading PostIt’s disappointing to hear that they’retaking these,” said Bill Birdsong Miller, aNative American artist who has won threeGRAMMYS (in 2005, 2006, and 2010) andwas in town last week to participate in aformal effort by NARAS members to askthe Academy to reconsider itsdecision.”We weren’t alerted to the factthat they were about to change ourcategories. We weren’t asked if itmattered to us. It just happened.”Cont.
“It doesn’t work,” said Miller, whohas performed with the likes ofToriAmos, Pearl Jam and the BoDeans.“Our categories was one of themost strange, to me, categories. Ifyou put every Hawaiian music CDever made next to every nativeone, they wouldn’t even match.They’re not the same. They don’tuse our native flutes, they don’tuse our language. The same withZydeco and Cajun.”
“It ups the game in terms of what it takesto receive a GRAMMY and preserves thegreat esteem (with) which it’s held in thecreative community, which is the mostimportant element,” Academy Presidentand CEO Neil Portnow told the AssociatedPress. “That’s appropriate. We are talkingabout the most prestigious, covetedaward and it should be a high bar in termsof the measurement of receiving that.”
Miller, who plays native flute and guitarand writes his own songs, says thecompetition will devolve into a numbersgame.“What’s going to happen in ourcategory, it’s voting by numbers,” Millersaid. “So let’s say Zydeco or Cajun getmore votes that year than Hawaiian ornative, then that will be the topcategory and the rest will not get anyGrammys. So we’re sort of fightingagainst each other. We’re all trying tooutdo each other. Which we don’t wantto do.”Miller said it’s similar to moves he hasseen regarding native communitiesthroughout history.
In response to the elimination of the NativeAmerican category“As a Native American person, I am intimatelyaware - and continually reminded - of the lack ofunderstanding about Native people and cultureby mainstream American society. This lackextends to the perceptions of our music aswell, and I have spent my entire career battlingagainst unbelievablemisconceptions, stereotypes and even outrightracism.” Author unknownNotwithstanding the above quote, most people including NativeAmerican do not believe the removal was not based on race.
Native Americans can still compete inany category for the Grammy awardbased on genre. It is believed thatthis new classification will make itmore difficult and more competitive.
In conclusion, Native American music has been around fora long time. Being honored and recognized as its own forone decade, helped to bring Native American to the mainstreem venue.Although many are disappointed in the removal of thecategory, I personally like the idea of reduced categories.At some point one has to question the prestige of theaward when so many people are receiving them. Somepeople in the music industry are believing the award hasbecome a promotion for the music industry.Looking back at the creation of the award, only 26 artistwere recognized.
Woks Cited(n.d.). Retrieved November 3, 2011, from allbusiness.com:http://www.allbusiness.com/retail-trade/miscellaneous-retail-retail-stores-not/4665655-1.html(n.d.). Retrieved November 4, 2011, from enotes:http://www.enotes.com/topic/Grammy_Award_for_Best_Native_American_Music_AlbumDeMarco, M. (n.d.). Retrieved November 3, 2011, from Albi:http://alibi.com/feature/36918/Grammys-Ditch-the-Native-American-Category.htmlGrammies 1958. (n.d.). Retrieved November 2, 2011, from Infoplease:http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0150535.htmlTrading Post. (n.d.). Retrieved November 2, 2011, fromhttp://blog.theautry.org/2011/06/15/native-american-music-and-the-grammy-awards/Wild, D. (2007). And the Grammy Goes To.... Ann Arbor: State Street Press.