Saturday, May 30, 2015


Given that I'm an old-timer, rap music has never really been my cup o' tea. But while I was reading around for the post below about Native American voting rights, I ran across an interview with a young man named Frank Waln.

I always wanted to heal and help people. It’s something I saw my grandfather doing, and that my mother does now, so it was always in me. I just didn’t know how. Not many people from my reservation go to college, and I was the first from my high school to get this very prestigious scholarship—a full ride, the Gates Millennium Scholarship—to wherever I chose to go. Music was my interest, but everyone said, “be a lawyer,” “be a doctor,” because not a lot of us get these opportunities. So I went to Creighton University in Nebraska to study pre-med...

After I left Creighton, I told an elder I didn’t want to be a doctor anymore and wanted to do music. He said, “Sometimes music is the best medicine.” And that stays with me today...

A lot of Western culture is about the individual, rather than seeing how everything is connected and related. In a lot of indigenous cultures, it is about community. Indigenous cultures understand that you’re an individual, but you play a part in the whole—and not just the community of human beings, but also part of the Earth. What we do to the land and the water will affect others, our grandchildren and our great-grandchildren. I was raised in a very matriarchal environment, and my family lived off of the land and taught me how to respect it because it takes care of us. That plays into my work...

The Lakota name given me by my elders is Oyate Teca Obmani, which means “walks with young people.” This came in a ceremony a couple years ago and it’s the path I’m supposed to take. Walking with young people is where I’ll have the most impact.
Here's an example of Frank's work:

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this Nancy. I love his music and I almost never like Rap. His Elders named him well.