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Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

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Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Local singer returns to community to raise money for cultural clothing

Ainsley Smyth
Wichita-raised AJ Harvey performs for a crowd at the Mid-America All-Indian Museum. The event was a fundraiser for The Stumblingbear Regalia Cupboard, which aims to loan traditional attire to Native American youth.

A Wichita-raised up-and-coming artist recently returned home to raise money for his community. AJ Harvey, singer, songwriter and actor in “Killers of the Flower Moon,” shared his music with an audience at the Mid-America All-Indian Museum on Nov. 30.

The event included seasonal dishes, and ticket sales went to the museum’s Stumblingbear Regalia Cupboard, which loans traditional dance attire made by community members to local youth, free of charge.

“Playing songs that I wrote away from home and getting to bring them up here to share with you people, that really means a lot,” Harvey said to the audience, many of whom have known him since childhood.

A graduate of Southeast High School, Harvey discussed his connection to the community and how it impacted his career.

“Growing up here in Wichita, I have a lot of resources and support from people around the community with the museum … and other programs around the city.” he said.

Harvey pointed to his mentor through the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, as an important influence in his life, helping him book his first gig at the Donut Whole.

Harvey played several of his own songs as well as covers, including a blues song he recalled playing at a talent show in a Red Robin as a teenager: “Walkin’ Blues” by Robert Johnson.

“Blues music, I took a piece of that, and I hold it with me very near and dear to my heart,” Harvey said.

Harvey ended his set with an unreleased song called “Hold on to Me,” which he said would be released next spring, along with other new music.

Dal Domebo, the board of trustees chairman for the museum said he remembers AJ working hard to start his music career from a young age.

“He’s got some pretty good things lined up for him in the future, and he’s busting his rear end, and he’s paying his dues, and if it works out for him, he deserves it,” Domebo said.

Domebo said the Regalia Cupboard was created out of a necessity that was identified in the community: a lack of young people participating in powwows.

“They’ll come, but they don’t dance, and when we ask them why, the number one reason is they don’t have anything to wear,” Domebo said. “It’s important to pass on our culture.”

More information about the Stumblingbear Regalia Cupboard can be found on the museum’s website. 

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About the Contributor
Ainsley Smyth, Reporter
Ainsley Smyth is a second-year reporter for The Sunflower. Smyth is a sophomore communications major with an emphasis in journalism and media productions. Her dream job is to travel back in time 30 years and then be a reporter for Rolling Stone. Smyth uses she/her pronouns.

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