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Hip-Hop Artist to spread understanding of Native American culture

Hip-hop artist, Frank Waln will perform in hopes of spreading knowledge about indigenous people on Jan. 22. Photo provided by Frank Waln.
Hip-hop artist, Frank Waln will perform in hopes of spreading knowledge about indigenous people on Jan. 22. Photo provided by Frank Waln.

Native American hip-hop artist and dancers will share their experience as young indigenous people in the United States. Frank Waln and the Sampson Brothers are coming to Augustana next week to perform for the Quad City community.

Waln is a Native American musician of the Sicangu Lokota Nation and his genre of music is primarily hip-hop and rap. Mecca Joseph, one of the student organizers for the event, and says the genre really helps express Waln’s message.

“He says that is what gave him the outlet to express Native American issues,” Joseph said.

The Sampson Brothers occasionally perform with Frank. They are native hoop dancers, and together, the event will be a fusion of native dances and a contemporary hip-hop performance.

The venue for the event had to be changed from Wallenberg to Centennial Hall, due to high attendance in Waln’s previous college performances.

“This event is also free to the public and personal invitations were sent out to students from Rock Island High School, Saint Ambrose and a Native American coalition in the Quad Cities,” Joseph said.

In his performances, Waln conveys to the audience what it is like to be a young indigenous person in today’s society.

“He talks about issues that are pertinent, such as missing and murdered indigenous women, and issues with environmental degradation, including the Keystone Oil Pipeline controversy,” Joseph said.

Waln said his musical upbringing started early on.

“It started when I was in third grade with a piano lesson for one year and I was hooked. Ever since then I’ve been in love with writing, creating  and listening to music.”

Waln said he listens to a lot of new music every week, gaining new inspiration.

Frank said he is inspired by “the old school rapper Nas, Eminem, John Trudell the Native American poet, Kanye West when it comes to the production side of things and The Beatles.”

Waln will be performing with an intention to spread a message to the audience about indigenous people and who they are.

“Indigenous people are human beings just like everyone else. We are survivors of genocide but that doesn’t mean that we don’t deserve to be happy, healthy and respected like everyone else,” Waln said.

Waln has not officially called his scheduled performances a tour, but he will be doing two to three shows every week until the summer, mostly at colleges.

Frank Waln and the Sampson Brothers will be performing in Centennial Hall  Jan. 22 at 7 p.m. There is also a meet and greet the following day, in the College Center from 7 to 8 p.m.