JR Redwater: More Natives Succeeding

Editor’s Note: This dude is hilarious. I don’t know Jr. at all, but I’ve been an admirer for awhile. That’s right Mr. Redwater, you have a stalker. A big Blackfeet stalker. Scary. Change your locks. Hide your woman (ayyyeezzzz!!!!)

The truth is that there are a lot of Native comedians on the come up–obviously the legendary Charlie Hill and (less obviously) the silly Colville Vaughn Eaglebear come to mind, amongst many others. God bless all of them! Achieve those dreams! JR, however, is my favorite (for now!!! I’m fickle and always willing to change for cheap flattery!!)–he has a storytelling style that I’ve always appreciated from my favorite comedians: John Leguizamo, Bill Cosby, Chris Rock, George Lopez. That storytelling style is the “old man’s” perspective–not “let’s run down the hill and make love to a cow,” instead it’s “let’s walk down to the hill and make sweet, passionate love to ALL the cows.”

That’s JR Redwater. He wants to make sweet, sweet Lakota-style love to all the cows. In a good way (I think).

He doesn’t rush a punchline. He doesn’t impatiently wait for people to “get it.” The humor is in the totality of his delivery and his story, not a single punchline.

He is funny incarnate–heck, I think if his jokes DIDN’T have a punchline (which, sometimes they do not), they would STILL be funny.

I’m not going to slobber all over this Standing Rock man’s microphone too much longer. I just felt that it was important to point out yet another Native person succeeding on a big level. It’s going to become an even bigger level. Promise. Thanks for following your dreams, JR (and all other Natives succeeding)!!!

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Published in: on June 22, 2010 at 7:06 pm  Comments (10)  

Repost: Litefoot an Example of Natives Succeeding

From Nativetimes.com

Editor’s Note: It seems like, so many times, the only thing that we celebrate in Native communities is the BAD stuff–the historical wrongs, the dysfunction, etc. etc. Yeah, all of us can claim those reasons/excuses as the reason that we don’t succeed. Still, there are so many examples of beauty and success within our Native people–I can run down a list of names off the top of my head! So I truly appreciate folks who go out of their way to NOT let those excuses get in the way of them achieving. There’s many examples of success within our communities–on my behalf, I’m gonna try to do a better job of celebrating those. Litefoot is but one of those examples.

Litefoot expands brand

Native American Hip Hop Artist/Activist/Entrepreneur/Actor Announces New Footwear Line, CD, Book, Film Company, College Lectures and Much, Much More

SEATTLE, Wash. – The year 2010 has been a busy one for hip hop artist/entrepreneur/motivational speaker/actor Litefoot. Litefoot, who is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, has an array of new projects.

He will debut his new abORIGINAL FOOT wear line, the “Litefoot” sneaker this October. With the launch of the “Litefoot” sneaker, Litefoot becomes the first Native American actor or musician to create a branded line of sneakers. The footwear line is a joint venture collaboration with Sole Nation Health, an American Indian owned footwear company. The Litefoot sneaker will be distributed throughout North America to Tribal Nations as well as through normal retail outlets and on line via http://www.litefoot.com

Litefoot, who launched the Native Style Clothing brand (www.nativestyle.net) in 2001, is also expanding its retail presence throughout North America and venturing into brand-specific marketing products for casino resort properties and for Native organizations and events. Native Style Clothing creates apparel featuring iconic contemporary Native designs.

Ever expanding his outreach, Litefoot has recently started work on an inspirational book, The Medicine of Prayer, detailing key events from his journeys throughout Indian Country over the last twenty years. The Medicine of Prayer will be self published. The Medicine of Prayer will be completed and available as an e-book and available as a paperback via http://www.litefoot.com on September 11, 2010. The Medicine of Prayer will also be available in late October on Apple’s ibookstore so it can be read via the Apple iPhone or iPad.

Litefoot continues to use his music to educate people about the Native American experience. In fact, his lyrics are now being used to teach high school and college-level students throughout the United States and as far away as Germany about historical and contemporary Native American issues and views. And he has lectured at various colleges throughout the United States including Virginia Polytechnic College and State University to Sitting Bull College. Most recently he spoke at Virginia Tech, on April 29, 2010, addressing the topic of “Building bridges between the Native American and African American communities.” Litefoot’s entire lecture at Virginia Tech will soon be available on DVD. In addition to the college circuit, Litefoot also spends a great amount of time each year speaking, holding workshops and performing concerts for elementary and high school student throughout North America.

Litefoot’s latest CD, The Testament, his 11th to date, will be released November 11, 2010. The CD will consist of 11 new songs and include a free bonus disc of 20 re-mastered Litefoot songs entitled, “Conscious Cutz.” He will also release an 11 album box set of his musical catalog entitled, “The Lite Years,” on December 11, 2010. All albums will be released on Litefoot’s own Red Vinyl Records and available via digital download or as compact discs via http://www.litefoot.com.

In other Litefoot Music news, the music video for his current single “My Chick” has received almost 300,000 views on YouTube.

By October of this year Litefoot will complete the fifth year of the five year long “Reach The Rez Tour” where will have traveled over 150,000 miles to nearly 400 American Indian Communities since 2005. The effort has served as the largest program of proactive outreach to Native American communities in the history of the United States of America.

On the Hollywood front, Litefoot, who has starred in various feature films including, Indian in the Cupboard and who has done several television guest appearances, just started along with Charlie Osceola of the Seminole Tribe of Florida “QCAM Productions,” a film production company that currently is developing a feature film script. QCAM will also serve as a production entity for various upcoming film projects. The name QCAM was created using the first initial from the first name of Litefoot’s son and Osceola’s three daughters.

Litefoot has also served in the past as the co-chair of the National Indian Gaming Association’s American Indian Business Network. He has served as Vice President of the Native Affairs for the Triple Five Group, owners of the worlds largest retail shopping malls; the Mall of America and the West Edmonton Mall.

Litefoot Enterprises, LLC also serves to create economic opportunities for the Native American community by bridging the gap between tribes and their partners. Litefoot Enterprises’ past and present project portfolio includes activities in real estate development, gaming, hospitality, “green” initiatives and wealth management. For more information: visit http://www.litefoot.com

Gyasi

Published in: on June 17, 2010 at 4:42 pm  Leave a Comment  

How To Give an Authentic Indian Speech

*Editor’s Note: This is something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time–give amazing Native writers a vehicle for their writing. There are several that I’m working with, and you can expect amazing stuff from them coming up. Now…I cannot claim credit for the below post, as much I’d love to (although Robert wanted me to make sure and take the blame for the photos. Yes. They’re mine.). Please welcome this amazing young writer and feel free to give honest and constructive feedback. His name is Robert C , from the Kiowa Nation and resides in the Mile High City. He is an obscure figure in the NDN world and has no prestigious awards to his name. Despite this, he endeavors to persevere and strives to be a good relative, friend and ally. His views are his alone (unless noted otherwise) and are not attributable to the host, fellow writers or any other associates.*

From time to time, a news article will appear and report public speaking to be a fear which ranks right up there with death. The article may quote a communications professor who will go on to relate some of the fear-based responses to public speaking—anxiety, sweaty palms, shaky voice, fidgeting, racing heartbeat, etc. Scary stuff, this public speaking.

If this is the level of fear held by the average person, imagine the fear of a Native who has to speak in public for the first time. What can be especially frightening is the belief they have to match the oratory feats of their Native ancestors. However, this fear is largely based on a misconception because many modern Native speakers have already established an easy-to-follow speech template which can be perfected with a little practice. This template works well with a non-Native audience and once mastered, it may pay off by delivering well paid speaking gigs.

THE TEMPLATE

Before concentrating on speech content, an aspiring Native speaker must first focus on a couple of speech elements—establishing credibility through appearance and pronunciation. An almost surefire way to establish credibility, and appear in the media, is to wear a headdress or warbonnet. In the past, some traditions required each feather to be earned until enough had been acquired to fashion a headdress. Nowadays, this type of tradition seems to be irrelevant and the main requirement for wearing a headdress is to take advantage of a good photo op. If a headdress is unavailable, then traditional clothing (or something resembling it) can be worn. It’s not important if one never wears traditional clothing for any other occasion so long as they wear it for a speech.

Another way to establish credibility is to affect a rez accent. This may mean speaking much slower or even in broken English. If one has never spent much time on the rez, watch Little Big Man and mimic Chief Dan George. Much like appearance, it’s not important if one doesn’t actually speak like this at any other time.

Once the appropriate attire is on and the right accent is found, it’s time to move onto the content of the speech. Remember, the following doesn’t need to be reproduced verbatim but it should serve as a general guideline and sections should be included in every speech (to allay fears, speaker notes will appear in parentheses).

Introduce yourself by your ndn name (note-do not look at someone you know when doing this because they may appear confused or skeptical and this may throw you off) Begin with a quote from a famous NDN and then include any or all of the following:

“First, I would like to apologize for speaking before my elders (don’t worry if you have no elders, it sounds good). I am here to speak as a member of the Seventh Generation (every NDN from the age of 6 to 80 make this claim so you are safe in doing so). I never thought I would make it this far because I grew up in a town in which the stores had signs that read “no Indians or dogs allowed.” I am also the product of a boarding school (it’s okay if you are a century removed from this process). I used to be extremely angry at what was done to my people, but a grandparent told me I had to let that anger go and make it in this world, and education is the key (scan the audience for nodding approvals and smiles). Today, education is the new buffalo and warriors carry a briefcase, not a bow and arrow (No one will care if your people didn’t actually hunt buffalo nor will they ask about the contents of the briefcase). Every NDN wants to fight for their people but it is hard because Indians are like crabs in a bucket and we pull anyone down who tries to climb high (every ethnic groups uses this same analogy so you are safe in doing so as well). Despite this, we have triumphed because we are still here and have survived. In fact, Native Americans have served in the armed forces at higher rates than any other ethnic group (other groups make this same claim so you are safe in doing so as well). We are a sovereign people and the treaties are the supreme law of the land that guarantee our right to education, housing and health care (chances are no one will know anything about federal NDN law and will believe your claim). We are all related. Aho!”

*At this point, feel free to talk about your personal life/accomplishments, how hard life has been lately and air any personal grudges you might have. You may also want to mention that we are a spiritual people (speak very softly) and our responsibility is to protect Mother Earth by showing our white relatives how to live in balance (don’t worry if you grew up in the suburbs and wouldn’t last one day without a cell phone, it’s the image that’s important).*

If at any point you lose your train of thought or become confused, explain to the audience that English is your second language, even if it’s the only language you understand. In addition, a rambling, incoherent speech can be justified by reminding the audience that Natives are non-linear thinkers and prone to speaking in circles (Editor’s Note: we live life in circles, no?). Also, if it becomes apparent that you do not have enough content to fill up the time slot, it is customary to pass the time by praying out loud, singing songs for 30 minutes or having the audience perform a friendship/round dance until the time is up. Follow these instructions and you will be a successful speaker.

WARNING

None of this will work with a predominantly NDN audience, but that’s the subject of a different post.

Robert C.
Kiowa Nation

Published in: on June 16, 2010 at 4:39 am  Comments (37)  

Repost: Dang-blasted Toddler Smokers

From CNN

Published in: on June 1, 2010 at 4:24 am  Leave a Comment