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Native American singer performs

Katie Staak | Thursday, November 8, 2007

In honor of Native American Heritage Month, the Saint Mary’s Office of Multicultural Affairs sponsored singer-songwriter Michael Jacobs Wednesday night at Dalloway’s, the café on campus.

Jacobs, a Cherokee recording artist, shared not only his music but also his Native American heritage with the audience. His performance filled Dalloway’s, and few seats were left when the music began.

Jacobs explained what each of his songs meant before he performed them. Many songs had stories that he shared along with the music.

“I sing about life from an Native American perspective,” he said. “But, also life in general, so it is accessible to everyone.”

He used his guitar and voice for the majority of the night. For one song, however, he used a Native American flute that he taught himself to play a few years ago.

Office of Multicultural Affairs Director Larisa Olin Ortiz said Saint Mary’s invited Jacobs to help celebrate the month.

“It is important to say that this month is National American Indian Heritage Month,” she said. “By organizing this type of program, educating the community, providing resources such as books, publications and documentaries and sharing information about events taking place on and off campus, we are recognizing the many contributions of American Indians and Alaskan Natives, something we should not only celebrate in November, but throughout the year.”

Ortiz and her office run a yearlong cultural campaign to help inform and diversify the Saint Mary’s campus.

Wednesday was the second time Jacobs has performed at the College. He performed last year, again in celebration of Native American Heritage Month.

“He knows how to connect with the audience by sharing his journey to discover his American Indian roots with his passion for music,” Ortiz said.

Saint Mary’s junior Mariam Eskander called Jacobs’ performance “amazing.”

“He was so fresh,” she said.

Many girls applauded after each song and laughed at the jokes Jacobs told in between his music.

“I loved his voice and his style,” junior Andrea Ortiz said.

Jacobs spoke about how he started his music career and what got him where he is today.

“I’ve been playing since I’ve been a kid and I’ve always wanted to do it,” he said.

Jacobs was in a rock band during the 1980s. He then retired, but in 2002 decided to get back into professional music by going solo.

“I started pursuing my culture and writing songs about this,” he said. These songs, which he wrote mainly for his friends, eventually became his first solo album.

Jacobs said the purpose of his music is “to humanize native people.”

“I want people to view them as real people, rather than have them demonized,” he said.