Wider Horizons

The gritty worlds of rodeo and playing music often collide in the life of steer wrestler and Juno-nominated country Armond Duck Chiefmusician, Armond Duck Chief. Long days on the road and weekends spent in dusty arenas and grimy bars seem to complement each other quite well, and chasing gold buckle dreams and writing about his experiences in rodeo have created a winning formula for this country-crooning cowboy.

Apart from tackling steers from horseback and selfmanaging his music career – which includes recent performances at the third annual Opokaa’sin Masquerade in February and at Bridging Cultures at the college in March – Duck Chief also works as a youth mentorship counsellor in his Siksika Nation community. Leading by example, Duck Chief is building on his education received at Lethbridge College by taking night classes at the college and working towards his bachelor’s degree through Athabasca University.

Duck Chief firmly believes in constant learning and higher education, something he tries to instil in those he mentors. Working with youth has always been a passion for the country artist, explaining he feels a responsibility to the future of his tribe.

“I think it’s the energy that they (kids) have. It’s rewarding to help a youth who is going through tough times. If there’s anything I can do, you know help them in one way or another, it gives me a real sense of pride,” smiles Duck Chief.

Having three children of his own keeps him pretty busy too, laughs Duck Chief. Tracy Wolf Child (Business Administration 2014), Duck Chief’s long-time sweetheart and soon-to-be wife, proudly produces a picture of their family taken at the Indigenous Music Awards in Winnipeg in September 2015. The evening brought great pride to Duck Chief, who closed the show with his own songs after winning the Best Country Album of the Year and Best Songwriter of the Year categories.

Jacqui Black, manager of the Indigenous Music Awards, says artists like Duck Chief who connect with people through their words and music, are ensuring its future in the Canadian landscape. “Over the last 10 years the Indigenous Music Awards has always had a consistent mandate to encourage, to support and to celebrate our artists,” says Black. “Their success is their success. We humbly offer them a stage.”

Duck Chief says he is looking forward to the possibility of playing for the thousands of people who come to the lead up of the Junos. Days of concerts and festivities will expose more people to the sound of this soulful Alberta cowboy, pushing his rodeo anthems out to a bigger audience. Taking home the award for Aboriginal Album of the Year wouldn’t be too bad either, adds Duck Chief.

Wider Horizons
Meagan Williams
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