Wednesday Sep 20

WalnFrank MelindaJaneMyers Frank Waln is an award-winning Sicangu Lakota Hip Hop artist and music producer from the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota. Raised by a single mother, Frank taught himself how to produce and record music as a teenager. A recipient of the Gates Millennium Scholarship, he attended Columbia College Chicago where he received a BA in Audio Arts and Acoustics. Waln’s awards include three Native American Music Awards, the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development 2014 Native American 40 Under 40, the 2014 Chicago Mayor’s Award for Civic Engagement, and the 2016 3Arts Grant for Chicago Artists. He has been featured in The Fader, Playboy, Vibe, NPR, Paper Magazine, ESPN, and MTV’s Rebel Music Native America. Frank Waln travels the world telling his story through performance and doing workshops focusing on  self-determination and expression of truth.
 
 

Born On the Rez

 
Verse

Four directions/ For reflection
Send my prayers up/ Give me protection
Lay my ties down/ Lay my lies down
I’ve grown to despise my colonized aggression
It’s this oppression and I’m a product of it
Open my eyes now/ I cannot be your puppet
I ceased to be a crab/ when I stepped out their bucket
I grew my hair long/ I will no longer tuck it
Relieved when I found our ways
I almost killed myself/ Went on that hill to pray
And then the wind blew
It’s like it knew I had been blue
I shed a tear for everything I had been through
I let my dad go/ I let my mother go
I let my lover go/ I let my cover go
Then it was just me/ One with everything
I opened up my mind/ Saw things I’ve never seen
I saw the sunset/ I saw the sunrise
I saw the pain that my mom saw in her son’s eyes
They showed me what it’s like
For one to lose their life
I learned to never quit
Never to stop cuz

Chorus

I was born on the rez
Raised on the rez
Born on the rez
Raised on the rez
Braids on my head
Hot days on the rez
My heart stays on the rez

Ma Lakota Ca (I am Lakota)
Ma Sicangu Ca (I am Sicangu)

Verse

Buckle up I’ll take you to a place you might’ve been
Call it “rez”/ I call it evil cuz it’s killing all my friends
Looking back Wounded Knee is probably where it begins
The government killed us for the land that you live in
White people win/ Indian lose
Take the land/ give us booze
Put our kids in boarding schools
Give us reservation blues
Treaties broke and signed with blood
Mass graves covered in mud
I look up at their flag and see it covered in blood
Pledge allegiance to your murder
History you never heard of
Circa then and now
Sure to make you think and reconsider
This place you call “the land of the brave, home of the free”
Look back and see the slaves and genocide that we see
This rez it is a grave/ We live in our remains
The state takes little kids/ girls turned to sex slaves
We rape/ We even kill
So numb can’t even feel
We’re the manifestation of violence it’s ideal for those in power
They back out cuz they’re not needed
We’re now fighting each other so much we act defeated
And I know that we’re poor and our resources depleted
But that doesn’t mean that violence should ever be repeated
The system is flawed/ The dollar bill is their god
Capitalism is their religion/ colonizing abroad
I know I seem kinda odd cuz my hair’s hanging long
I have a different world view/ It doesn’t mean that I’m wrong
Cuz I belong with the Earth/ I belong on that hill
Where I embraced my ancestors and they showed me what is real
Can’t forget all our people/ Can’t forget where I’m from
We’re the answers to it all
We decide what we become

Chorus

I was born on the rez
Raised on the rez
Born on the rez
Raised on the rez
Braids on my head
Hot days on the rez
My heart stays on the rez

Ma Lakota Ca ( I am Lakota)
       Ma Sicangu Ca (I am Sicangu)



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photo by Melinda Jane Myers