August 9th, 2015 Last Updated on: August 9th, 2015
Interview by Dawn Karima, Native American Culture Editor
Keith Sharphead celebrates a big win at the annual July 4 Cherokee Powwow by visiting with Powwows.com! His unique style of Prairie Chicken dancing distinguished him from a field of stellar contestants and won First Place. The Plains Cree/Nakoda Sioux dancer shares his story with us in his own lively words!
Q) How great to visit with you! Please tell us who you are and where you're from?
A) Hi! My name is Keith Sharphead. I am from Canada and a member of the First Nations. I am Plains Cree and Nakoda Sioux. Currently, I live in Pensacola, Florida.
Q) Congratulations on your big win and a great season!
A) Thank-you! First of all, thank you for taking an interest in the Prairie Chicken dance. I believe that the Prairie Chicken chose me. This dance has been in my family for centuries. I decided to dance the Prairie Chicken after my grandfather, Frank Sharphead away. It was my way to keep his spirit alive.
Q) Such a mighty legacy! As you keep his strong spirit alive, how does dancing transform your life?
A) Dancing has taught me to be an individual. To be independent in mind, body, and soul. Dancing has given me a greater respect for the winged beings. They can see and experience the world like no other. I can only show my interpretation of what they do on Mother Earth, if for just the length of a song or a weekend.
Q) How does your tribal heritage impact your life? What are some of the things that you want us to learn from you about your culture?
A) I am from two tribes: Plains Cree & Nakoda Sioux. My mom is Cree and she is from the Samson Band of Hobbema, Alberta. My dad is Cree & Nakoda Sioux and he's from the Enoch Cree Nation, Alberta. I took his last name which is a Nakoda Sioux surname. If this interests you, the Cree Nation is the largest native population in Canada. A fact that most people are unaware of. My favourite tradition is teaching someone about Cree syllabics. This is our written language that we used to communicate.(i.e. hunting stories) Contrary to popular belief, we have always had a written language. It was forbidden during the conversion of tribes to Catholicism, Christianity, etc.
Q) If you were going to write a book or make a movie about your life in the circle, what would it share?
A) I would share my experiences. How I felt to dance in the circle. To dance a style that my grandfather danced. The feeling you get when everything and everyone disappears and you simply dance in your own universe. It's a powerful feeling!
Q) Excellent! Anything else you want us to know?
A) You're welcome! Yes there is. I start the RN program in August and I would greatly appreciate kind thoughts and prayers.
Q) Good for you! Many blessings!
A)Hiy hiy ( Cree for ‘thank-you')
Home » Native American Articles » Interviews »