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Sarah Elizabeth Burkey: Barefoot Songbird
17 Sep 2013
Published To
Sarah Elizabeth Burkey was honored with an Artist Enrichment Grant from the Kentucky Foundation for Women enabling her to travel from her home in rural Kentucky to the Northern Cheyenne Reservation near Lame Deer, Montana to attend the 11th Council Gathering of the International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers in 2012.

For well over a decade, Sarah Elizabeth’s unique songwriting has been inspired by traditional indigenous values and the wisdom and life experiences of her journey and that of her ancestors.  As a result of her time spent with the International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers, 2006-present, and numerous other Elders throughout her life, Sarah Elizabeth has composed music and lyrics that illuminate the contributions of Native Women Elders as strong feminist role models, environmental activists, and cultural preservationists.  Through music and storytelling, Sarah Elizabeth has been passing these values on to younger generations, serving as a bridge to help mend the sacred circle.

Recording Artist, songwriter, author, storyteller, and actress, Sarah Elizabeth Burkey has performed across the US and toured in 19 countries. Her writing has been published internationally and her work appears on 15 albums. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music and Literature. Sarah has designed and presented arts and cultural education programs in conjunction with Smithsonian Exhibits and at countless Universities and Institutions of higher learning. Sarah was the keynote speaker and featured performer at the 8th Annual Women of Appalachia Conference. Her work places strong emphasis on cultural heritage and social and ecological justice. Sarah was appointed by the governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky to serve on the Kentucky Native American Heritage Commission. Sarah also currently serves as Assistant Music Director for The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Cherokee Historical Association dedicated to perpetuating and preserving the history and culture of the Cherokee People. For more information on Sarah Elizabeth Burkey, visit her website or follow her on Facebook.

Photo of Sarah Elizabeth Burkey by Julie-Anna Carlisle


The artist or arts organization telling this story was supported in part by a grant from the Kentucky Foundation for Women. KFW is based on the belief that when women and girls advance, so does Kentucky. For more information about the foundation and the social change artmaking being done by the individuals and organizations it supports, visit www.kfw.org." 
Song Community Cross-Cultural Culture Environmentalism Folklore Heritage Indigenous Local Preservation Rural-Urban Spirituality & Religion Traditional Women Album/Record Conference/Lecture Folklife Performance Appalachia Southeast Activist Musician Native American
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