April 27th, 2019 Last Updated on: April 27th, 2019
March 3, 2019, the Pow Wow world lost a legendary singer and composer, Kenny Merrick Jr.
Friday at the 2019 Gathering of Nations Pow Wows was dedicated to Kenny.
The Gathering committee commissioned a drum to be made for the family. During the singers from different drum groups signed the drum in remembrance one of their own.
At the end of the night, a memorial song was sung with the family present. The dancers then followed the family and exited the arena.
Good speed my friend! You'll be missed!
Kenneth Lee Merrick, age 47 of Groton, Connecticut, formerly of New Town,ND passed away on Saturday, March 3, 2018 at his residence. His funeral arrangements are with Fulkerson Stevenson Funeral Home of Watford City.
Early Saturday morning on March 3, 2018, our beloved “Mato Duta” went on to be with our ancestors. Kenneth L. Merrick Jr, age 47 passed away in his home in Groton, CT. Jr. was born on November 4, 1970 to Yvonne Chase and the late Kenneth L. Merrick Sr. in Devils Lake, ND. Jr. grew up and attended school in New Town, ND. He graduated from high school from Four Winds High School in Ft. Totten, ND. On March 24, 1989 he was blessed with his beautiful “Baby Girl” whom he loved with all his heart.
In September of 1989 he started working for the renowned American Indian Dance Theatre based out of New York City as there Singing Director and performer. He traveled all over the world educating different countries on his Native culture singing and playing his flute. During his time on the dance theatre he traveled to places such as Egypt, Russia and Tokyo and many others. There wasn’t a country he hadn’t blessed with his gift of song and dance.
On Labor Day weekend of 1989 he met and fell in love with his soul mate Faithe Lonebear. October 6, 1990 he and Faithe were blessed with a beautiful son while he was on tour. He loved his “Sonny Boy” with all his heart. During this time Jr. made his home on the Northern Cheyenne reservation. In between tours Jr. ran a little daycare out of his home taking care of his son, his nieces and nephews. In 1993 Jr. started working for Lame Deer Trading in the produce section until he was hired at Lame Deer School in the ISS room. On February 21, 1997 he married Faithe at the Justice of Peace in Hardin, MT. Two days later he moved to Connecticut to work for the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe as a singing instructor. Soon after, in May 1997 he moved his family to Connecticut to join him. He worked for the Mashantucket Tribe for 16 years sharing his vast knowledge of singing and dancing. During this time he worked with youth of all ages, ran the powwow, created a flag song for the tribe and worked in anyway that he could to help the community. His passion was singing and teaching children sing.
Everything Jr. did he did it with passion, love and determination. In Connecticut he and his brothers, Tyson and Michael Thomas formed the Grammy nominated drum group Mystic River Singers. Jr. traveled throughout Indian Country to many powwows sharing his songs, singing and teaching who ever wanted to learn. He loved to make people dance! Jr. and his brother Tyson also formed the Spirit Lake Warrior Basketball program with his nephews Phyllip and River and it took off from there. They traveled though out the east coast winning tournaments and brought a gold medal home from the State Games in California.
Jr. was so proud of both of his children. For Craig his dream was to see his son play on a college basketball court. This was a dream Craig fulfilled for his dad when he played college basketball for St. Joseph’s College of Maine and Nichols College. One of the most precious moments in his life was when Craig graduate from Nichols College in 2013. Jr. was never more proud of his daughter Lauren. He would always express what a wonderful mother she is, and what a wonderful and hardworking woman and she has become. On August 8, 2014 Lauren blessed him with his most precious gift, his granddaughter “Sweetie Girl”. She was the light of his life and she made him want to live, but the Creator needed him more.
Jr. is survived by his beloved wife Faithe whom resides in Groton, CT, his daughter Lauren (Chad) Merrick , his granddaughter Cheyenne Benedict of Rochester, NY, his son, Craig (Sara) Merrick of Berkeley, CA. His beloved mother Yvonne Chase of New Town, ND, brother Tyson Merrick of Prior Lake, MN, sister, ReNae Merrick of New Town, ND. His Pequot children Phyllip & River Thomas, Kiah Montey-Snell, Godson and Rylan Newell of Mashantucket, CT. Along with numerous uncles, aunts, cousins, nieces and nephews and all his adopted families through out Indian Country.
Jr. is preceded in death by his Maternal and Paternal Grandparents. Father, Kenneth L Merrick Sr,, and Uncle Virgil Chase.
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