Keith Bear (O’Mashi! Ryu Ta - “Northern Lights”) is a world renowned Mandan-Hidatsa storyteller and musician from the Three Affiliated Tribes in Fort Berthold, North Dakota.
After growing up outside the tribal traditions Keith Bear returned to his people and reconnected through the “sacred branch of the Tree of Life,” the flute. Through extended family members, friends, and ceremonies Bear learned traditional songs, beadwork, porcupine quillwork, flute music, and traditional stories.
Keith has appeared as a solo presenter, performer and storyteller at the Smithsonian Folklife festival, the Kennedy Center, Lewis & Clark Bicentennial signature events throughout the US, the International Storytellers Festival in Wales, UK; for the North Dakota Arts Council, and in cultural programs throughout Europe. He has soloed with the National Symphony and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra in performances of the Old Turtle Symphony (composer: Linda Tutas Haugen).
His presentations include being a spokesperson for the National Education Association regarding Indian warriors and Indian leaders. Bear is also a pipe carrier and ceremonialist, and belongs to the Buffalo Dance Society.
In 2009, Keith was recognized for his contributions to the preservation of his Native culture and traditions by a fellowship from the prestigious Bush Foundation (additional information here). An award-winning recording artist, his CDs, “Makoche Masters,” “Echoes of the Upper Missouri,” “People of the Willows,” “Earthlodge” and “Morning Star Whispered,” were produced by Makoche Records. Native American Music Awards nominated “Earthlodge” for Best Traditional Artist, Best Video and Best Male Artist.
Solo Programs – Keith performs enchanting and renewing song, story and flute programs for a variety of public and private events. He has performed on college, university and performing arts stages, for meetings and conferences, workshops and retreats, weddings, special events and festivals. Video Sample of Keith Bear Solo - The Story of Turtle and Pretty Crane. Video Sample of Keith Bear Solo -- Morning Star Whispered.
People of the Willows Performances – Keith Bear presents an evening of song and story from the heart of the Plains with artists Gary Stroutsos and Jovino Santos Neto. Based on the trio’s critically acclaimed CD of the same name, the performance includes traditional and modern music inspired by native traditions and stories. Video Samples of People of the Willows performances.
Residencies, Assemblies, Youth – Keith brings his mesmerizing presence and wisdom to schools, youth programs and camps. Residencies work across the curriculum through art, music, science, history and language arts. Through storytelling and Native arts he teaches students respect for self and elders, integrity, reverence for the earth and appreciation of diversity. Inquire about Lewis and Clark or Celestial Science themes, beadwork and flute-making options. View a news story about one of Keith's elementary school residencies.
Hear Keith's interview with Milt Lee, producer of Contemporary Rhythms, Wisdom of the Elders Radio, and the story of how Keith's life changed when he bought his first flute.
Keith Bear is represented by Hosfeld Artist Management.