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Navajo flutist in opening ceremonies

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah ? Jakey Skye is the young flutist who represented the Navajo people in the opening Ceremonies of the Winter Olympics 2002.

Skye performed with four other flutists who represented the four other Native nations that are located in Utah.

This self-taught flutist took up the instrument just five years ago and has already recorded a CD, "Gift From the Creator" and is performing in and around his home town area of Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

Skye is Dineh and Lakota, is a grass dancer and has performed all over Europe and toured with the First Nations Dance Company in the Netherlands. He made seven trips to Europe.

"My flute playing has just taken off," he said.

Skye said he heard about the Olympic Committee needed flute players. He heard it from a friend of his mother's son, who works in tourism. He applied, waited three weeks and then was asked to submit a tape. He said he sent his CD and then was chosen to participate.

"I was told it was all volunteer, no pay. It took two or three days to think about it. I didn't know what I was going to do. I talked to friends and decided it was a once in a lifetime deal.

"It's a great honor to go to the Olympics and play for people from all over the world and with the five tribes that have come together as one. Everyone performing there will bless the games so nothing bad will happen. It's going to be great."

Skye said he had already had one rehearsal and explained the scene as an "awesome sight."

Skye and the other flutists will also perform for the closing ceremonies.

He lives in New Mexico with his two children, Naomi age 5 and Dakota age 3. Naomi is a fancy dancer and Skye said he was teaching Dakota to be a grass dancer.

The Salt Lake City Olympic Committee would not comment on the identity of the other four flute players that will represent the Paiute, Ute, Shoshone and Goshute tribes.