PLATTSBURGH — Joseph FireCrow’s Cheyenne name, Hoespenakohe “Unsuccessful Bear,” is a powerful warrior’s name.
“This name ties us directly to the top of the food chain with the bear,” said the Grammy Award- and Nammy Award-winning Native American flutist, who will be performing Monday evening at SUNY Plattsburgh.
“We view the bear as our relative. We do not eat their meat or wear their fur or skins or use their skins or claws. We have a great respect for them.”
“Unsuccessful Bear” references a human’s inability to completely emulate a bear.
BACK IN THE EAST
Fifteen years ago, FireCrow relocated to Connecticut. He is originally from the Northern Cheyenne Reservation in southeastern Montana.
“It’s a beautiful change. Back in Montana, they think it’s all concrete and asphalt out here. I learned to fly fish coming here to Connecticut. It’s an awesome sport. I just love it here.”
FireCrow’s accomplishments include a Grammy in the New Age category, guest artist on David Darling’s Grammy-nominated “Prayer for Compassion” and six Native American Music Awards.
His music appears in Director Ken Burns’s documentaries, “Lewis and Clark: The Journey of the Corps of Discovery” and “The National Parks: America’s Best Ideas.” It was also featured in “The War that Made America,” a PBS film.
For his 2010 release, “Face of the Music,” he was named Artist of the Year and Flutist of the Year by the Native American Music Association. Last year, he won Song/Single of the Year for the compilation, “Out of Many, We are One.”
TAUGHT BY GRANDPARENTS
FireCrow grew up in a family of 12 children: six brothers and six sisters.
“I’m kind of in the middle. I’m the sixth one up from the bottom. I’m the middle of the pack.”