Mark your calendars for a special treat at the Ninepipes Museum of Early Montana on Thursday, July 26. Leo Charlie and fellow drummers and singers will first offer a Round Dance workshop and demonstration from 1-3 p.m. and will then drum and sing for a Round Dance from 6-9 p.m. The round dance is a traditional Native American dance with a message of friendship and spiritual solidarity; a dance for meeting old friends and for making new friends. Charlie will perform with Jeffery Longman, a member of the Grey Buffalo Singers who is of Cree-Saulteaux ancestry, as well as other performers from the Northwest and Canada. Nancy Vaughan and her crew will be selling Indian Tacos and fry bread from 1-8 p.m.
Leo Charlie grew up singing and dancing as far back as he can remember. Born in Tennessee, he is a member of the Thompson River Lower Nicola Band from British Columbia, Canada. His parents, Vernita Charlie and Tony Maier, moved to Montana where Charlie subsequently was raised by Daryl Stenstrom and Vernita and attended school in Ronan. He formed his first drum group in Ronan Junior High and earned a letterman’s pin for drumming. During his high school years, Charlie drove his group around the Northwest to various powwows. He has recorded five CDs, and most of the songs on the CDs are his original compositions. His latest CD release titled “Songs From the Road” contains 18 round dance songs and features Jared Bird, Jeffery Longman, Henry Aleck, Thomas Kicking Woman and eight other performers. Charlie states in his CD insert, “There is nothing more beautiful than to be Native American/First Nations Indian to be blessed – and still to this day be carrying on our cultural and traditional ways of life.” He loves singing on the big drum, but his passion is round dance and hand drum songs. Charlie is considered by many to be the “song bird of his generation” and resides in Post Falls, Idaho, when he is not traveling and performing across the United States.