Keith is a member Cherokees of Northeast Alabama, a state-recognized tribe. Cheryl spent eight years on the Native American Powwow trail with Keith. We take only what we need from life; Creator provides for our needs. We feed stray animals and adopt a few along the way. We volunteer whenever and wherever asked: Wrede's Wildlife Center, Earth Day Celebrations, Food Pantry, helping seniors in our town, serving on powwow committees . . . We are quiet people who try hard to walk the good Red Road.
The University of Alabama commissioned Keith Little Badger to construct a log drum to represent an ancient artifact drum on display in their Moundville Museum. While installing the drum, a busload of Chickasaw elders toured the Museum and requested that Keith play a prayer song on the drum. Jimmy Hicks (Western Band of Cherokee-Oklahoma from the Hicks out of Strang. OK) grabbed one of the buffalo fur covered sticks and all present sang the Ponca Prayer Song. Chickasaw elders honored Keith and Jimmy with an invitation to visit for Green Corn Ceremony.
• We have left the powwow trail, so we don't enter competitions anymore. But Keith received probably the greatest honor of his life in 2009. His good friend, Arvel Bird, dedicated his CD, entitled RED RIVER JIG, which celebrates the rich heritage of Metis fiddle music to Keith. We cried when we heard the haunting notes of Pongo, Arvel's fiddle. And we danced to the Waltz Quadrille, which always reminds Keith of his mother, Nancy Proulx Desroisers. Find the CD at www.singingwolfrecords.com or http://www.arvelbird.com. 2008:
April 12-13, The Drum People will exhibit their fine art in Kansas City, MO. The Indian Market and Southwest Showcase will be held at the Overland Park International Trade Center. For more information, see www.ndnmarket.com.
Two painted drums by The Drum People appeared in Western Art Collector, November 2007 issue, page 16, full page National advertisement for the December 2007 Atlanta Indian Art Market.
Two painted drums by The Drum People were featured in the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, Fall 2007 issue, page 39 to advertise the December 2007 Atlanta Indian Art Market.
The Drum People exhibited their fine arts at the juried Atlanta American Indian Art Market.www.americanindianmarket.com This represented a huge career shift from powwow vendors to artists. As we retire from the powwow trail, our work will continue to be available on-line, at Fine Art shows, and through select retailers around the country.
Bill Miller, 2007 Nammy Lifetime Achievements Winner, now plays Little Badger hand drum.
Best Booth in the Vero Beach "Thunder on the Beach" powwow competiton, which earned us free booth space for 2008. This is getting embarrassing - three years now.
First Place Art Competition (Modern Art Category) at Vero Beach Powwow for a painted drum. Keith took Second Place for woodworking (Utah Ferris' gorgeous flute took first!). Our painted rattles received an Honorable Mention from the judges.
Keith was named one of the seven National elders for the American Metis Aboriginal Association Council.
2006 Powwow Season:
Cheryl's artwork has been used as the inside CD jacket art for Nammy Award Winner and Indian Summer Music Award Winner, Arvel Bird and One Nation. The CD was released in November 2006. Be sure to buy one at http://www.arvelbird.com.
Keith's drum was played at the 2006 Native American Music Award ceremony in Hollywood, FL, by Arvel Bird and One Nation (who, by the way, won First place for Best Native American Instrumental CD).
Once again we took Best Booth in the Vero Beach "Thunder on the Beach" powwow competiton, which earned us free booth space for 2007. We were honored and humbled by the generosity of the committee and other vendors who voted for us.
Keith was honored as the Male Elder of the MTSU Powwow for his "Contributions to Indian Country." He accepted his award with ten drums beating for him and hundreds of dancers cheering. This white hair thing is really working for him!
2005 Powwow Season:
The Drum People won 2nd Placein the Fine Arts category of 2005 NATIONAL Native American craft contest hosted by www.powwows.com. We entered our painted drum titled "Mother Earth, Father Sky." The vote was extremely close, the winner had just 3 more votes than us.
Vero Beach Festival - Three local gallery judges rated our Painted Drum and Beaded Drum Stick"Mother Earth, Father Sky" BEST IN SHOW.
Vero Beach Festival - Painted Drum took 1st Place in Craft Competition, Beaded drum stick placed 2nd in Beadwork Competition.
Florida Indian Hobbyist Association Powwow - Cheryl was commissioned to paint the design for the 40th Annual powwow. Used in fliers, Tshirts (sold out), and silk jackets.
Florida Indian Hobbyist Association Powwow - Booth took Red Ribbon (2nd Place) for overall artistic display and quality of crafts.
MTSU, Murfreesboro, TN - A committee of "secret shoppers" voted The Drum People Number One Best Large Booth based on quality of crafts, knowledge of Native American culture, attitude of owners (Cheryl and Keith) and 12 other criteria.
Keith was honored as one of three Elders of the Canton, GA powwow. He received this honor for his contributions as judge, dancer and drum-maker (he consistently loans drums to any powwow performer in need).
2004 Powwow Season:
Vero Beach Festival - Voted Best Booth, which gave us free booth space for 2005
Florida Indian Hobbyist Association Powwow. Painted Drum and cedar stand took 2nd Place in Craft competition.
Vero Beach Festival. Painted drum placed 2nd in overall Craft competition.
2003 Powwow Season:
Florida Indian Hobbyist Association Powwow. Two painted drums entered into Craft competition. Judges awarded both drums a 2nd place Red ribbon.
2002 Powwow Season:
Chambers Farm Powwow - Painted drum (buffalo skull) was awarded Honorable Mention in Crafts. The Florida Band of Quachita Native Americans voted The Drum People "Best Vendor of the Powwow" for the "style and variety of genuine native arts and crafts as well as the charisma of the proprietors." Talking Bird charismatic??
Florida Indian Hobbyist Association Powwow. Our booth won a Blue ribbon - 1st Place - for Artistic Display and quality of crafts.
We established Earth Shadow Design in 2000. People began calling us "the drum people" because we carried so many drums and accessories at powwows. In 2006, we officially changed our name to The Drum People. Our company has grown faster than we ever could have imagined. We have outgrown five tents now. We have earned ribbons for our painted drums and taken Best Booth awards. Our drums have been played by famous perfomers such as Bill Miller, Arvel Bird and Peter Phippen. Keith's drum was played at the Native American Music Award ceremony in 2006. Cheryl's artwork appears on CDs now. We have customers all over the world. We are amazed that four hands could accomplish all this. We are proud to contribute to the understanding and appreciation of Native American art, music, and culture. We thank all of our loyal customers!
KEITH LITTLE BADGER “Each piece of my art is unique and inspired by nature, history and my link to the Creator. Art is prayer to Native Americans. The colorful regalia seen in powwow dances reflects our appreciation for the gifts of color, movement and texture.
Traditional Native Americans valued symmetry as a symbol of order in the Universe. For every positive, there is a negative. For every right-hand feather, there is a left, to restore the balance. The circle, as captured in the medicine wheel, guides much of our spiritual practice.
All drums that I build start with a medicine wheel. The woods select me; I do not select them. My carvings crawl out of the wood; I just talk to them gently and coax them from hiding.”
Photographer: Clarence W. Walker, credits include a Life Magazine Cover. Phone: 770-606-0459
Dancing with the Aztec Dancers
CHERYL "TALKING BIRD"
I think in circles now. Once I painted square or rectangular watercolors. People called my watercolor paintings "surreal" or "romantic" because I painted places that did not exist. But I have been walking this Red Road now for nearly fifteen years, and I paint in circles. I recycle, which is a circle. I associate with people in a circle of life. The seasons are a circle. I understand what Black Elk meant when he said all things are in a circle.
Now I paint animals. I still paint places that do not exist, and people - Native People - who may have existed but now live only in my mind, and on the rawhide where I transfer their image. Life is sacred and my hands are simply tools that Creator gave me to capture the dreams and images. I put people's dreams and images on drums that can be used for healing and prayer. I am a conduit, the translator between people and Creator. That's the kind of artist I am today.