Luis Lopez’s Windwalker Dorn, a Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter of Native American heritage, was honored at the Academy Music Awards event in Los Angeles in June, where he received the Outstanding Legacy Award.
The Academy Music Awards are dedicated to recognizing top musical talent from around the world.
The award is in conjunction with his CD “We Are One”, an ambient instrumental album of meditation for ambience with harp, handheld dulcimer, drums and flute.
He also won for Song of the Year. “It was in the category of authentic Native American music for White Sky Song,” he said. “I was very humble.”
Dorn has four albums to his credit, including a Grammy nomination in the category of Best Regional Roots Music Album in 2016 as Windwalker Dorn and MCW.
MCW is short for Multi-Cultural Women.
“It has been very well received because we have a history of being traditional and it has worked. It always works. We are matriarchal, so matriarchal,” he said. “Women make the final decisions of our country because we are the givers of life. And as givers of life, we are custodians of music, tradition, education.”
Dorn’s first four albums were traditional.
“Traditional songs belonged to the three tribes of my clan,” he said. “There are in some languages. Vocables, which are yah and wah. This way, we can share our music without learning our language.
Two years ago, during a particularly dry spell, Dorn led a group from Socorro to do a rain dance at Corky Harkenhoff’s farm.
“It was the conversion of dryness and drought into rain,” Dorn said. “When I did that dance, with all due respect and honor, we offered to eat corn first at the beginning of the ceremony and everyone had some seeds.
“In New England, we didn’t have rain dances. All we did was pray for water, and then we offered maize meal,” he said. “I’m originally from New England. My mother’s tribe is Mi’kmaq from Maine. My father was Cherokee and Lenape, out of Pennsylvania. I was born in Fox clan. My father was in the Bird Clan.”
He said he learned many traditional ways at a young age.
“I’ve been teaching since I was 4 years old,” Dorn said. “My grandmother basically taught me everything. He would say I wear my moccasins in two canoes. One is in the outside world, and teaches it, and in a traditional world to maintain that tradition.
“Traditional songs came from my father, some mostly passed down from Cherokee elders and Mi’kmaq elders,” he said. “My first music was Cherokee and Lenape and all the traditional Native American music with Mi’kmaq drumming that I learned over the years. I was the carrier of those songs and also taught those songs. and prayers for various dances.
“For anything traditional women’s dance is related to Mother Earth and Father Sky,” Dorn said. “When they dance, their feet never leave the mother. Also very soft. Lower the balls of the feet first and then the heels. And the reason they do it is to soften the motherland.”
Other CDs by Windwalker Dorn & The MCW include Generations and Seeds of the Earth.
In addition to his music, Dorn leads workshops across the country.
“Also, I’m an herbalist and aromatherapist,” Dorn said. “I grow my own herbs and tea. It goes back to my great-grandmother. Back then, it wasn’t cool to be an Indian, and it certainly wasn’t cool to be a medicine woman.”