Michael grew up in a multi-racial neighborhood on the south side of Chicago. In all the diversity, his large family did what they could to ensure that they didn't become an invisible Indian.
His Cherokee ancestors go back to the Trail of Tears and earlier. Prior to the forced removal many Cherokees moved to S.E. Missouri and N.E. Arkansas. Mike and his sisters and brother are only the second generation not to be born in S.E. Missouri.
They have been told the stories passed down from generation to generation and encouraged to stay close to their culture.
He is reminded by his mother and great uncle, and by the words of his grandmother and great aunt who have walked on, not to forget the stories and struggles of his people and all Indigneous people.
From these stories are the basis of his music and songs along with his own life experiences. As part of those experiences, Mike has lived in many places thru his life, but now lives in the great northwoods of northwest Wisconsin. He stays close to his family, friends, to the stories. and to his beliefs.