By Quin Staats
ONEIDA OF THE THAMES — Thirteen-year-old Katsitsyokus Elijah’s mother posted a video on Facebook of her doing an ASL version of Logan Staats’ single ’The Lucky Ones (THE LAUNCH)’ and the video has gone viral.
Katsitsyokus (Grace) Elijah, turtle clan from the Oneida Nation of the Thames has become an internet sensation over just a few short weeks after a huge buzz began over her mother, Amy Ireland’s, 2-year-old Facebook video that seemed to re-emerge out of nowhere.
The video, originally posted on February 4 th of 2018, features then 10-year-old Katsitsyokus interpreting one of Logan Staats’ songs ‘The Luck Ones (THE LAUNCH)’ in ASL (American Sign Language), the primary language of the deaf community in North America.
The soon to be 13-year-old and her mother were immediate fans of Juno nominee Logan Staats, the Mohawk singer/songwriter from Six Nations of the Grand River when they saw him as a contestant and winner on Season 1 of CTV’s The Launch.
“My mom asked me what Logan was saying in his songs, so I interpreted them for her because she is deaf,” Katsitsyokus explains of the origin of the video “I am still shocked at how many people watched my video and the outpouring of support from them”.
It had crossed her mind that Staats might see her interpretation video of his song, and she was hoping that he would.
Two years later…the video came up in a Facebook memory and the sharing caught like wildfire. It wasn’t long before the video post was shared on Staats’ fan page, receiving a response of gratitude (including a special invitation) in a video post that Staats made directly on Katsitsyokus’ Facebook page.
“Logan reached out to me personally and asked me to perform with him on stage soon!” Mother, Amy Ireland’s Facebook video of her daughter that had just over 1.5k views before thesharing frenzy began now has over 11.7k views since February 5 th of this year. Her daughter’s story has also since been covered by APTN National News, whose video of Katsitsyokus has over 68.2k views!
The Lucky Ones (THE LAUNCH), written by Busbee and Bebe Rexha, was released on January 11, 2018 through Bell Media Inc. and Big Machine Label Group, LLC. It reached #1 on the Canadian iTunes Chart immediately after its release the night the episode aired that revealed Staats as the winner.
“Oh my god, she is so cute,” Staats says was his reaction when he saw the video for the first time. “I almost saw a bit of myself in her, when I was that age. When things like this happen, it reminds me why I do this”
Staats is known for his extensive work with children, visiting classrooms and doing a wide range of workshops in reserves across the nation.
“It’s surprising when anything like this happens. I have a great following in First Nations communities and owe a lot, if not all, of my success to them. The least I can do is give my time as a storyteller and singer and spend time with the kids”
“I was thrilled,” he continues “it really touched and warmed my heart.”
As for the Katsitsyokus, her unique voice in ASL continues to form its own personality and her fluency improving with every day.
“Come visit me and my classmates at Tsi’Niyukwaliho:t learning centre!”