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Mvc 001s2In loving memory of my dear friend Robert "Tree" Cody, who departed from this world on September 14, 2023, at the age of 72. Standing tall at almost 6' 10", Tree was a giant not just in stature but also in heart and talent. His voice, in my opinion, resonated as one of the greatest in Indian Country, and his flute playing secured him a spot among the top 5 First Nations flute players. Additionally, Tree was a mesmerizing Fancy Dancer, showcasing his multifaceted brilliance.

Our paths first crossed 22 years ago at the 3rd Native American Music Awards, where an instant connection blossomed into a lasting friendship. It was my privilege to present Tree and Rueben Romero with the Native American Music Award for their exceptional album, "Native Flamenco."

Even at 6' 4" in boots, looking up at Tree was always a joy. Over the years, our sporadic conversations about music and Indian Country became cherished moments. In the past 7 weeks, an undeniable urge to reconnect with Tree persisted, and the realization of his passing hit me profoundly a couple of days ago.

My Brother Robert Tree Cody, your absence leaves a void that cannot be filled. Every time your beautiful music graces our ears, we will be reminded of your extraordinary talent and the void you've left behind. The photos captured during the Third Annual Native American Music Awards in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in February 2001, stand as timeless mementos of the day our paths first crossed.

Rest in peace, dear Tree. Your legacy lives on in our hearts and the melodies you shared with the world!

With respect,

From Wikipedia:

Robert Tree Cody was the adopted son of the actor Iron Eyes Cody and Cody's wife Bertha Parker, an Assistant in Archaeology at Southwest Museum of the American Indian. Iron Eyes and Bertha adopted Robert and his brother Arthur, who served in the United States Marine Corps during the Vietnam War and died as a result of exposure to Agent Orange. The brothers are of Dakota and Maricopa heritage. Robert was an enrolled member of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. In the Maricopa language, his traditional name was Oou Kas Mah Quet, meaning "Thunder Bear".

Formerly of Big Bear, California, he resided in Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico with his wife, Rachel. His nickname, "Tree," came from his height: he was six feet nine and a half inches tall. In 2009, Robert was interviewed about his father in the Canadian documentary Reel Injun.

Robert Cody played the Native American flute, had released eleven albums with Canyon Records and toured throughout the Americas, Europe, and East Asia. He performed the traditional carved wooden flute on several tracks of The Rippingtons' 1999 album Topaz. Cody was a featured flautist in the tenth episode of the PBS series Reading Rainbow, entitled "The Gift of the Sacred Dog" (based on the book by Paul Goble). It was filmed at Montana's Crow Agency reservation on June 17, 1983. He performed with Xavier Quijas Yxayotl (Huichol) from Guadalajara for the 2000 new age album Crossroads. He also was on the 5th and 6th season of Longmire. In episode 5, he was one of the singers in the sweat lodge scene.

During the 1950s and '60s and '70s, Cody travelled the pow-wow circuit extensively as a dancer. In November of 2022, Robert Tree Cody was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Native American Music Awards. Due to failing health, he was unable to attend.

Tree was previously a multiple award winner of the Native American Music Awards for his albums; "Native Flamenco" featuring Tony Redhouse and Ruben Romero, "Maze" released in 2002, "Crossroads" with Xavier Quijas Yxayotl as well as for a collaboration with Taste of Honey's Janice Marie Johnson on her recording "Until The Eagle Falls." He was also nominated for a Grammy at the 49th Annual Grammy Awards for Best Native American Music Album for "Heart of the Wind" featuring Will Clipman.

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