His message could be summed up in three words—“Be a warrior.”
That’s what “Litefoot,” a Native American role model, actor, motivator and rap artist, told those gathered here at the Oh-Shki-Be-Ma-Te-Ze-Win, Weechi-it-te-win Family Services and Fort Frances Tribal Area Health Authority Christmas celebration last Thursday.
And his message was aimed mostly at the youth.
Star of the 1995 Paramount film, “The Indian in the Cupboard,” Litefoot was blunt as he described the situation for most native youths on reserves across North American—a situation he claimed he was all too familiar with.
“It wasn’t too long ago when I was in high school trying to figure out what I wanted to do," he said. ”But I knew I was going to have to work for it.
“I go to the reservation and see young people picking guns up and killing each other all because of things that happened 150 years ago,” he added.
“And we can’t point the finger and sit and whine and complain—if you don’t like how it is, change it.”
Denial was the First Nations’ biggest problem, Litefoot said; denial that anything at all on the reserves was wrong. And a lot of that denial revolved around substance abuse, especially alcohol, he added.
“Ulysses S. Grant said we don’t need bullets or guns or soldiers to kill the Indians, we need liquor,” Litefoot remarked.
"The minute they got that liquor out there, you know what happened. Our women become whores. Our men would kill each other, and fight each other over things that mean nothing to us.
“I don’t remember any stomp dance songs that have, ‘Let’s go out and get drunk,’” he stressed.
Still, Litefoot admitted it’s hard to stand up and change things, calling the First Nations’ struggle a war.
"I want you guys to realize that as you’re trying to walk in both worlds, people are going to try and be at you because when you do something with your life, you make others look bad.
“The more of us there are out there on the front in the war, we can make a change," he continued. ”I might not succeed but I’m going to stand tall and fight.
“It’s your people, your prophecies. Be a warrior—find what the Creator has set out for you,” he urged.