Even though Keenan Stewart is only an 11-year-old 5th grader at Charles City Elementary School in Virginia, he is no stranger to the spotlight. Not only is he involved with his tribe at powwows, he also narrated and starred in a 25-minute video put out by the Virginia Department of Education called, “The Virginia Indians: Meet the Tribes.”
In addition to his impressive performance in the video, Keenan also recently joined members of the Chickahominy Tribe and other representative tribal members from the state of Virginia’s 11 Indian tribes to perform a blessing song during Governor Terry McAuliffe’s inauguration ceremony in Richmond, Virginia. Keenan even led the song.
When asked about his performance for the governor, Stewart was beaming. “I am pretty excited to show the governor and all the other people about our heritage and our traditions.”
Keenan’s mother, Tanya Stewart says it’s not surprising her son feels comfortable getting attention. “He has always been into TV and [has been] wanting to do different things. He wants to be a wrestler and be on TV,” she said. “College first and after that maybe you could go into wrestling.”
Keenan spoke well of the film he appeared in, “The Virginia Indians: Meet the Tribes.” He says at first it was a bit daunting because he would be speaking for the entirety of the 25-minute piece.
“All that I was thinking was all of the different words. When I got my script a month before the film actually happened—my aunt who is a fifth-grade teacher told me about the different tribes. I didn't know about them. During the film I had to do some corrections, but it still turned out good.”
“I thought there were only the main nine tribes, but it was actually 11,” says Keenan.
“We are very proud and his father and I are glad that he is able to get the opportunity to tell the folks about not just our tribe, but other tribes in the state of Virginia,” said Tanya.
Keenan also talked about what it is like being a fifth-grader in today’s modern world as a Native American.
“It is kind of different, because they know Native Americans are around but they don't know that I am Native American. We need to keep with tradition. We don’t need all of this new technology, some of it is good, but we don’t need all of it,” he said.
“I really want to be a wrestler, but my mom says I have to go to college first. I really want to become a professional wrestler, but I'm going to go to college to become a journalist first.”
We told Keenan we’d be glad to see him working for ICTMN someday. After his wrestling gigs of course.