Bucks inform students about American Indian Heritage through music

By Gus Bode

Famous Native American drum group to perform at Student Center at 6:30 tonight

The Bucks, a recent guest on Ed McMahon’s “Next Big Star,” come to SIU to show students they are “Comin’ Alive,” the title and personality of their first CD.

The Native American drum group formerly known as the Milwaukee Bucks will be performing at 6:30 tonight in the Student Center Ballrooms.

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A “teaser” will take place at 11:30 a.m. in the Free Forum Area to introduce the group to SIU and entice people into joining the group for a repeat performance in the evening.

Nichole Boyd, a junior in university studies and student leader of the events for Native American Month, contacted the band after seeing them perform at various pow-wows in the past.

The group performed at Indian Summer in Milwaukee, Wis., one of the largest pow-wows around the area, and again at Southeastern Illinois College in Harrisburg.

“We were at Harrisburg, and some of the Native American SIU students asked if we could set it up for us to come there,” said Kelly Logan, lead drummer of the Bucks.

The Bucks is a second-generation drum group. Logan’s father and grandfather started the group around 1963. The drum group consists of various Woodland Tribes. They named the group after the abundance of wildlife in the area.

The group travels throughout the United States and Canada and has a total of 12 members. Five will be attending SIU.

“We have men and women singers, and we all dance various styles of native dances,” Logan said. “All my family members are champion dancers.”

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Once a month, Logan and his family participate in large pow-wows where different types of contests take place, including dance contests. Logan said they always place in the top three.

In Spring 2002, the Bucks opened for Lenny Kravitz at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. They performed in front of a crowd of 30,000. The Bucks have also been on Ed McMahon’s the “Next Big Star” about one year ago. They lost to the eventual winners of the entire showcase, Logan said.

Logan has a two-year degree in liberal arts and managed three different restaurants before deciding he wanted to make the group a full-time job.

It has been seven years since he took the position to full time. He is head drummer and manager arranging performances for the group. They generally perform on weekends since the other members work full time during the week.

The group has finished two CDs that are sold either at the events where they perform or released to Native American vendors to sell.

Their first CD was released last year entitled “Comin’ Alive,” featuring 10 songs. Their second CD, “Bridge Runner,” features 12 songs and both CDs are comprised of all originals.

“We are spilling into the mainstream of modern music,” Logan said.

The group is currently working on a third CD to be released next summer. They hope to distribute it throughout music stores.

The celebration is free to all students. Fry bread will be sold for $1 and Indian tacos will be $3, and a beverage is included in the meal. All food items are traditional recipes and are being sold to raise money to possibly hold an event in March to further celebrate American Indian heritage.

Events displaying the culture of American Indian heritage have been at SIU for about eight years. Preparations for this event began this summer.

“They are an award-winning group,” said Carl Erwin, coordinator of Student Development and the multi-cultural program. “We were lucky to get them to come.”

Boyd hopes the music will draw people in.

“Everyone comes around for music,” Boyd said. “It will show we are still celebrating our culture. It will be a relaxing, kick-back evening to come out and enjoy.”

Reporter Nicole Sherdan can be reached at [email protected]

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