Katie Lee’s many artistic and performance endeavors and passions have left a mark on the world. Today, people are still being inspired by her words. Some sing folk music. Others embrace what is important to them and fight for what they believe in. Lee was able to use her artistic skills to stand up and speak out for what she believed in and to speak out against what she disapproved of.
One of Lee’s most well-known attributes is her affinity for colorful language. This aspect of her shows how she didn’t care for being socially acceptable. She just wanted to speak her mind and make her point.
One main area where Katie Lee’s legacy is seen is in advocacy against Glen Canyon Dam specifically, and large scale environmental engineering in general. Her lectures and performances at schools and communities spread the word about the harm the dam was and is doing.
Her songs can be accessed online, reaching an even greater number of people.
Lee also was interviewed many times in her life, especially in later life, about Glen Canyon. In these interviews, some of which can be accessed online, she repeatedly talks about Glen before the dam, how the dam changed her life, and her hopes for the Colorado River to run unrestricted. Her voice is a symbol for the fall of Glen Canyon Dam, which inspires the generations who can never see the canyon pre-dam to understand and share her dream of a Colorado River restored.
Art and Entertainment
Katie Lee’s recorded music remains popular. She continues to inspire other musicians’ style and content. In 2019, Jessica Larabee of the band She Keeps Bees wrote a song about Lee. The song, “Coyote,” can be found on YouTube and other music streaming services.
Publishing and Website
While she was alive, Lee started her own publishing company. Under Katydidit Books and Music, Lee re-released her previously recorded albums, including Songs of Couch and Consultation. She also released new albums such as Maude, Billy, and Mr. D. and published her books, including Ballad of Gutless Ditch.
Lee created a website to accompany her publishing company. The website features blog posts written by Lee and friends, contact information, a biography on Lee, her bibliography and discography, guidelines on how to purchase her works, and information about other works she’s helped in and awards she’s received. After her death, it was maintained by her friend Noel Fray who turned it over to Special Collections and Archives at Northern Arizona University. The site is still active and accessible. It can be found here.
Awards and Honors
During her life, Katie Lee was presented with many awards, including;
Cine Golden Eagle Award – 1972
David Brower Award for Outstanding Environmental Activism – 2001
Ward Roylance Award for Commitment to Arts and Outdoor Education – 2003, Entrada Institute
Lawrence Clark Powell Lifetime Achievement Award – 2005
National Association of Women Business Owners “Trailblazer” Award – 2008
Induction into the Arizona Music & Entertainment Hall of Fame – 2011
Town of Jerome Certificate of Commendation and Recognition – 2011
Culture Treasure Keepers of Canyon Country Award – 2012
2014 Festival Director’s Award – Mountainfilm Festival, Telluride
Induction into the River Runner Hall of Fame – 2016, John Wesley Powell River History Museum