Red Feather Woman – Walker of Worlds
For Rose Red Elk, uplifting and healing her audiences through storytelling, writing, and music is at the heart of her artistic mission. Inspired by her American Indigenous heritage, Rose sews the wisdom, folklore, and history of her culture into the original songs, published writings, and stories that she preforms. Also known by her stage name Red Feather Woman, Rose is an accomplished performing arts entertainer who is using her creative gifts to educate, entertain, and enlighten those who listen.
Teachings From the Ancestors
As an enrolled member of the Sioux/Assiniboine Tribes, Rose’s work is also aimed at empowering and inspiring Indigenous America, while also preserving its vibrant history and culture. She believes that telling the stories of her ancestors instills a sense of pride and hope in her people. Carrying stories from the past into the present is a powerful act that both honors her elders and encourages the youth of today. Rose’s comic book series for example, “Empowerment Saga,” educates youth on reservations about the importance of responsible financial management while also weaving in culturally relevant characters, symbology, and stories. Her song “Keepers of the Earth,” further reminds youth of the sacredness of our planet and the responsibility that all of us have in honoring and stewarding it as such.
The teachings from Indigenous elders, Rose explains, always points back to a simple yet often forgotten truth: We are all connected. Art is a way to bridge us back together, and to heal the pains of division. In line with this principle, Rose sees her art as accessible and relevant to people from all backgrounds. Her stories share simple but healing truths that she notes, “all human spirits can resonate with.” Love, acceptance, forgiveness, faith, courage, authenticity, gratitude, following your heart… The themes within her stories are familiar to us all. Anyone willing to take the time to listen, Rose believes, can source healing energy from the work.
Keepers of Wisdom – A Vision
Taking her on international tours and earning her award-winning titles, Rose’s creative career has always focused on uplifting her audiences. Recently, her positive intentions have cumulated in perhaps her most powerful project yet, an album titled Keepers of the Wisdom- Healing Stories & Guided Meditations. It was through introspection, isolation, and deep meditation that Rose sourced inspiration for this 2-disk album.
Last spring, amidst the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, Rose was given a strong vision that reminded her of the resilience of Indigenous America. She was carried to a moment in time when smallpox had infected a Native American village. Many people were dying, weak, and suffering at the hands of this newly introduced disease. However, a pillar of hope appeared in the form of an elderly grandmother. The woman tended to the sick and watched immense suffering pass, yet she maintained a strong heart. She lost much of her tribe to the sickness, yet accepted, gave thanks, and persevered. The vision inspired by Native American history stuck with Rose; it seemed to point to the spiritual strength that is needed today during the global pandemic. The vision would soon become the first story featured on Keepers of the Wisdom and would set an intention for spiritual attunement and balance throughout the album.
Keepers of the Wisdom uniquely blends oral storytelling, both original and traditional, soothing instrumentals, and guided meditations. Interspersed between stories, the meditations are rooted in the elements, connecting us to all that supports life on this planet. Instrumentals include acoustic guitar by Rose, Doug Haywood, former bass player and harmony vocalist for Jackson Browne, and Native American flute by Eric Many Winds Herrera. The musicians beautifully harmonize alongside Rose’s spoken word as do the light nature sounds that further transport the audience to a tranquil place.
This distinct combination of creative energy has led Rose to believe that her album falls into a new genre all together, though she hasn’t figured out what to call it yet. Regardless of its classification, Rose is optimistic that its relatability and powerful impact will push it out into the mainstream. The album calls from the wisdom of the past to heal the present; it is a work that can speak to anyone’s spirit in these challenging times.
The Creative Call
While Rose feels that her most potent creative gift is for writing and storytelling, she is also an accomplished fine artist. In the early 2000s, Rose was introduced to her passion for weaving dream catchers. After learning the traditional weave from a Cherokee mentor, Rose began to experiment with new designs, adding in beads and colors. Slowly, semi-precious crystals and gems found their way into Rose’s dream catchers, as well as sacred symbology such as turtle shells, the four directions, and stars. Rose describes these elaborate dream catchers as a marriage between the traditional intentions of her Lakota heritage and the contemporary styles that inspire her. Rose has found great success selling her fine art dream catchers at Powwows, art shows, and her shop. Check out her online store to see examples of these creations as well as her handmade jewelry and smudging fans.
Today, Rose’s entire life revolves around art; however, it took her many years to fully embrace and realize this creative calling. She notes, “It took half my life to start my life as an artist… All my friends are retiring, but I am just getting started!” Having spent much of her life in Texas, Rose’s early professional energy centered around completing three degrees in electronics, sociology, and business, with the long-term goal of becoming a lawyer. Her interest in attending the University of Colorado Law School eventually brought her to Colorado, where she quickly got a job with IBM as an executive assistant. The pay was good, the work steady, but doors were not opening for Rose at the university and she couldn’t help but feel unsatisfied with the work she was doing.
Then, it seemed as if life itself intervened. Rose began to receive miraculously accurate psychic readings about her life and her need to reconnect with her creative path. She began to meditate again. Her community urged her to quit her corporate job and focus on her passion. The entire universe was insisting that Rose follow her gift for art. By 1997, Rose had quit her job and was working towards creating her first album. It would take her many years, full of expected and unexpected challenges, to finish Keepers of the Earth. By 2004, however, the album was complete, and would later win Native American Music Award’s Best Folk Recording. From there, Rose’s path as a professional artist was clear, and she never looked back.
As a businesswoman, multi-media artist, mother, spiritual-seeker, American Indian, and multi-cultural educator, Rose Red Elk has walked between many worlds. This dynamic background has made her work relatable and valuable to a diverse crowd, offering space for authentic connection to self, spirit, and community. The power of art, Rose explains, is that it “shares the human spirit of the artist itself.” It brings healing and satisfaction to both the creator and the audience. We are all creative beings, she reminds us, and “If you are open to life, it will take you to some amazing places.”
For more information about Rose Red Elk visit her website www.redfeatherwoman.com or contact her directly at email@example.com. In tribute to Native American Heritage Month, Keepers of the Wisdom was released November 1, 2021. It is Rose’s 4th album. To purchase or listen to Keepers of the Wisdom, visit Rose’s website. The album will also be available on Spotify, iTunes, Amazon, and CD Baby. Through Dec. 2021 and Jan. 2022, it is available of the ESAI website Store.