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Litefoot Appears At Aboriginal Youth Talent Search

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      WINTER 1997      v27 n04 p19  
The highlight for many of the adolescent audience members at the recent Aboriginal Youth Talent Search was the performance by Native American rapper Litefoot. Performing with Haida, the first female Native American rapper, Litefoot gave the youth a show to remember.

Evasive about his age, this twenty-something rapper began his music career in 1988. While his talent was attractive to record companies, his insistence at profiting his Native American heritage was not. He quickly realized that this conflict would exist as long as he remained under a mainstream label.

Litefoot "I remember sitting in the office of a record label in Chicago and they were interested in me as a rapper but not as a Native American rapper. They didn't want me to reflect the culture in my lyrics or anything," he says. "That's when I decided to start Red vinyl. I decided on the name right then, Red to represent Red People everywhere and the struggle we face in society to this day."

His initiative has paid off. Litefoot has released five albums under his label, the most recent being Good Day 2 Die in June 1996. However, the drawback to being a trailblazer is that there is no one from which draw experience, no one who has gone before. "I have no one to mold myself after," says Litefoot.

This has forced him to branch out in a direction that is entirely his own. The result is what Litefoot cal s tribalistic funk. His lyrics focus on the political, historical and social injustices and struggles that Aboriginal people face. He takes these messages with him on tour throughout Indian country. "We... put music out that we know will go straight to the reservations," he says. Litefoot performs on reserves, at conferences, events, youth camps, high schools and graduations.

Not content with achievement in music alone, he recently branched out into acting. Litefoot debuted in the popular film Indian in the Cupboard. He was originally concerned about message that the film would send to audiences, saying, "I mean, it's an Indian in a cupboard!" However, he now says, "I feel completely positive about the way it turned out"

Litefoot has appeared in several other films, Kull the Conqueror being his latest release, and just wrapped another. In Mortal Kombat II, filmed in Bangkok, he portrays what he calls "the first Native American superhero." This film is due out in the near future.

If success is measured by fan support Liteloot is a superstar among youth. His fans appreciate, often with obvious wideeyed awe, the message he sends to them. In return, Litefoot's dedication to empowering Aboriginal young people is truly visible. After a hectic day of events and an hourlong performance, Litefoot spent two and a half hours signing autographs with Gordon Tootoosis and Haida after the Talent Search ended at 10:00 p.m. A true role model, he was friendly, open and accessible, frequently stopping to talk and take photos with fans.

Litefoot continues to look for challenges in the future. He sums up his journey thus far saying, "It's kind of like a roller coaster ride and wherever it goes, that's where I am."