In prison, Cody cleaned toilets during the day and wrote songs at night. Several of them made it onto another album, Spirit of a Woman. The Native American Music Awards -- the so-called Indian Grammies -- named her the best female artist of 2002. She's released four albums in all, and last year National Public Radio featured her in its 50 Great Voices series, which showcases singers around the world.

"I'd love to open for Merle Haggard," she says.

A racket outside interrupts her tale. Other members of the family are arriving, and Bailey and Renfro, two orphan sheep in a nearby pen, enthusiastically greet them: "Baaaaaah!"

The sound reminds Cody of getting out of prison: She went directly to her grandmother's corral, she says, picked up sheep manure, sniffed it and blessed herself with it. The ritual proved that she'd made it home.

The biggest change associated with her incarceration came with her discovery, in the prison library, of a book on domestic violence. "I read parts of my life in its pages. That's where my education on the subject began."

In the six years since her release, she's become an activist, giving speeches on domestic violence to assemblies in Navajo schools -- part of her Strong Spirit Campaign -- and in rallies at the state Capitol and elsewhere. Often she sings as well. "She has such a powerful presence," says Elizabeth Ditlevson, deputy director of the Arizona Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Ditlevson has accompanied Cody on her school appearances, which focus on preventing teen dating violence, a growing problem on the reservation. Teenagers sit on the edge of their bleacher seats when Cody is speaking, says Ditlevson. "If teenagers have violence in their families, it helps them realize they're not alone."

Cody still finds it hard to trust anyone. "I have times when I cry -- something will trigger a memory and I have to let go. But those days are fewer."

She's now enrolled in college, studying sociology and public relations, but for reasons of privacy and safety, she asks me to withhold the name of her school.