Glen Ahhaitty: singer
Glen Ahhaitty, an enrolled member of the Kiowa tribe of Oklahoma, never forgot his roots while growing up in a non-Indian neighborhood in Southern California.
Ahhaitty has always been active in his heritage, starting by attending powwows with his prominent singer father. Ahhaitty has danced since he was 5 and sung since he was 12.
Moving to the San Juan Ridge a year ago to be with his girlfriend, Ahhaitty, 38, spent most of last summer and now almost every weekend singing at powwows and concerts throughout the country.
Ahhaitty sang at the Hoop Dance World Championships at the Heard Museum in Phoenix last weekend; next weekend, he will be at a Salt Lake City powwow.
“This is part of my life,” he said, then corrected himself: “This is my life. I couldn’t leave it. I want to perpetuate my culture.”
Ahhaitty has been a vocalist for several American Indian music groups, including Rose Hill, Bad Medicine, Yellowhammer, Cozad Singers and Young Bird, which was nominated for a Grammy this year for its “Change of Life” CD.
Although Ahhaitty wasn’t on the “Change of Life” CD because he was sick during the recording sessions, he said Thursday he will attend the Los Angeles award ceremony Feb. 27. He will sing with Young Bird the night before at a party hosted by the group’s label, Canyon Records.
“Surreal” is the word Ahhaitty uses to describe his feelings about attending the Grammy Awards for the first time.
“The people being honored in the different categories are those I buy CDs of,” Ahhaitty said. “Growing up and singing Native American music, I never thought of my music as an art form.”
When not performing on the road, Ahhaitty does American Indian bead work and feather ceremonial work at his Ridge home.
He also provides music commentary on KVMR-FM’s two-hour show, “The Native American Show,” Thursdays at 10 a.m.
Ahhaitty wants to eventually earn a liberal arts degree with a minor in Native American studies from Humboldt State University, and then teach American Indian children. Currently enrolled at Sierra College, Ahhaitty hopes to spend less time at gigs so he has more time to study.
“I’d like to cut down my hours traveling, but I have to be there. This is my upbringing; attending powwows, it’s innate,” Ahhaitty said with a sigh.
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