March 18, 2011

Interview with Elvis medallion presenter

More on the subject I covered in Elvis Received Sioux Medallion:

A Short Interview with Monique BraveWhen the unused CBS film from 1977 emerged onto the fan scene a decade or so ago, one of the unexpected elements was a backstage presentation that took place prior to Elvis’ concert at Rapid City, South Dakota on June 21, 1977. The mayor of the city was on hand to present Elvis with a plaque for being the first artist to perform in the new Rushmore Plaza Civic Center. (The mayor can’t have made much of an impression, since at the start of the show Elvis asked the audience “Somebody told me that it’s a new building or something, and I was the first person to perform here. Is that true?”)

But also making a presentation to Elvis on the occasion (and making much more of an impression) was young Monique Brave, who gave Elvis a Medallion of Life on behalf of the Sioux Nation. Elvis seemed quite taken with Monique saying how pretty she was, giving her a kiss on the cheek, asking one of his aides for a scarf to give her, and posing for two photos with Monique and her mother. (The poor mayor didn’t get a photo, a scarf or a kiss.)

Many who have seen the footage of the presentation have wondered about Monique, where she is today, what her memories are of the meeting, and how she felt when Elvis died only a few weeks later. Well, about six months ago I set out to locate Monique and did, in fact, manage to do so. We have communicated a handful of times since then via E-mail and I asked her a handful of questions, most of which were answered, if only briefly. Monique seems to be a person of few words; possibly she feels she doesn’t have much to tell. She certainly has a very full life and is very busy. On top of this she has recently had to change workplace and has had her youngest child hospitalised for a time. Despite all of this, we managed to compile a short Q&A session as shown below.

Monique, thank you for being willing to answer a few questions for us.

Firstly, is it safe to assume you have Sioux Native American heritage?

Yes I am an enrolled member of the Yankton Sioux Tribe.

Could you tell us a little about your life prior to 1977?

Well, I was 10 years old in 1977, so not too much going on as a 10-year-old. I was working at a fireworks stand in Yankton, SD with my Aunt Cathy when I heard that I was going to meet Elvis. At 10 years old I was more interested in selling fireworks than meeting Elvis.
Comment:  For more on the part-Native Elvis, see Chippewa Elvis Impersonator and Elvis in Flaming Star.

No comments: