Growing Kansas: The Newsletter
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Elexa Dawson presents a sultry, spirited performance with original music and a “warm honey mixed with prairie dirt” voice. Her newest album, “Music is Medicine” released through Lost Cowgirl Records in December 2019. “Music is Medicine” has received international airplay and her song “High Place” is currently charting on the Indigenous Music Countdown.
The founding member of Kansas’ folk homegrown favorite, Weda Skirts, Elexa is a born entertainer and skilled songwriter. Two albums (The Skirts, “Many Moons” 2016, “Mother” 2018) present songs that are influenced by her Potawatomi and Oklahoma heritage, nature, family, love and loss, all with a hopeful and heartfelt tone. She also performs and shares authorship with Heyleon, a cross-pollination of established Kansas bluegrass musicians. In April of 2020, Heyleon released “Friends and Family”.
Her professional career began around Oklahoma City. She organized her first band, whose membership spanned Oklahoma and Kansas, and her new relationships and the beautiful landscape drew her closer to Chase County and the Flint Hills. She moved to Kansas in 2006, and has been active in the music community ever since.
In 2019, Elexa was awarded the Artist in Business Leadership Fellowship from First Peoples Fund. Her Anishinabe identity echoes within all she creates.
Elexa performs solo, with a bluesy folk trio, and with Heyleon and Weda Skirts at private and public events, gatherings, pubs, and campfires.
Elexa Dawson – Singer, Songwriter, Storyteller (30 minutes – 2 hours, All Ages)
Elexa Dawson’s original songwriting tells the stories of her ancestors, coloring in black and white impressions of historical events that brought us all to where we are now. From Potawatomi migration to Appalachian folklore, Elexa’s voice guides the listener into the setting, evoking emotion and nostalgia, highlighting the deep and boundless wonders of the human experience.
Presentation on Anishinabe Culture (30 minutes, Adaptable to All Ages)
Elexa Dawson comes from the Citizen Potawatomi Nation based near Shawnee, OK. The Potawatomi people originated from the Great Lakes area, and participated in the Anishinabe Three Fires Confederacy, recognizing the Odawa and Ojibwe as brother nations. The Trail of Death brought the Potawatomi to Kansas and later, Oklahoma. The Anishinabe culture is still thriving, with language, food and clothing unique to the Anishinabe people. Learn about this culture and the history of the Potawatomi, with recognition that the Potawatomi are a vibrant and living people with sovereign nations and current relevance in today’s society.
Programs can be combined and adapted to suit specific audiences.
Indigenous organizations and presentations for Indigenous peoples may be eligible for no-cost presentation.
Songwriters – Open Forum (1 hour, High School and Adult)
Elexa Dawson facilitates an open forum between fellow songwriters and those interested in writing music. Encouraging and inspirational.
Land Acknowledgment (20 minutes – or extended with panel, collaboration with other Indigenous Peoples – All Ages)
All of North America was once inhabited by vibrant, active cultures with trade routes and territories. When applicable, Potawatomi land acknowledgments can be presented to communities to help facilitate better understanding of the lands’ inhabitants, flora and fauna, and traditional cosmology.
Seedsongs (10 minutes, All Ages)
Our seeds are our past, and our future. The Anishinabe people have had agreements with plants that have sustained us, even as we have cared for them. Participants will receive a seed and a vessel to plant it in, and a song to sing to their seeds as they grow. As we plant these seeds, we’ll learn about our responsibility to our foods to nurture them as they nourish us.
The Power of the Voice (10 minutes, All Ages)
Anishinabe cosmology teaches us that the world began with sound. Sensing sounds is an exercise in presence, reflection and relaxation. Participants practice using our ears and our voice to interact with the world.