HELEN, Ga. — A Georgia man could win big at the Native American Music Awards Saturday.
Ryan LittleEagle of Forsyth County has been nominated for three categories in what's known as the Grammy Awards for indigenous people in North America.
LittleEagle put his musical stylings on display at Alpine Brew Deck in Helen on Friday. The singer and songwriter said he enjoys presenting his talents and putting on a show.
“I’m out here just trying to share some music, tell some stories and spread some Native cheer. I’ve written a lot of my own music, and that’s what I’ve recorded so far," he said.
LittleEagle is of the Lakota and Taino tribes. The musician doubles as a cultural educator and has been a guest lecturer at institutions like the University of Georgia and Mercer University, often sharing his knowledge of Lakota history and Native American music, according to his website.
He said his music is a way to keep his culture close to his heart and a way to connect with others.
“When I pull out that flute, I see everybody’s face turn around. When you get people who really connected with your music, come out and support you, come out to your gigs, and say something about how those songs really mean something to them -- it’s rewarding," the musician said.
Apart from singing, LittleEagle also plays five instruments and has become known for his craft.
Shea Oliver drove an hour and a half to see him perform Friday and said they're a big fan of his work and what he stands for.
“I’ve been following him for years, so it wasn’t my first time," Oliver said. "He’s really good, and he represents the Native American culture well. He knows everything about it.”
LittleEagle's latest album "Chronicles" is getting a lot of recognition at this year's Native American Music Awards.
“It’s currently nominated for best flute album, best country album, and best male vocalist of the year," he said proudly.
But he said the nominations don’t mean as much to him as sharing his culture with fans.
“I feel like being out here and showing that representation, it’s really keeping that identity alive. It’s showcasing we’re still here, especially when I can share my own history and my own songs and my own stories," the musician said.
People can vote for LittleEagle until midnight. People can also listen to LittleEagle's music and learn more about him on his website.
This story is part of a series of stories done by 11Alive's Dawn White for Native American Heritage Month.