Fri Aug 2nd, 2019
The Southern Ute Drum
Sometimes in life all you need is a little awakening. That is what the Dream Warriors are about to bring to our neck of the woods, a three-day multi-media, no cost training with five Indigenous recording artists. The training is open to all youth ages 13-19 will be held in Ignacio, Colo. at SunUte Community Center. All interested youth must provide a letter of interest by August 9, 2019.
“Write us a paragraph on why you’re interested in this training and what you hope to get out of it,” said Tami Graham, KSUT Executive Director.
Frank Waln, Paul Wennel Jr., Lyla June, Wake Self, Gunner Jules and hometown favorite Tanaya Winder have big goals and aspirations coming to small town Ignacio.
These Indigenous Artist are from all over the continent, and they have all committed to one thing, youth empowerment.
All big-time native artist in their own right, here’s a sneak peek into what Ignacio youth has to look forward too.
Frank Waln, Native Hip-Hop Artist, Producer and Performer from the Lakota Nation grew up on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Saving enough money to build his own recording studio in his basement, he began recording in the early 2000’s. Waln received the Best Producers award in 2010 at the Native American Music Awards, being the youngest winner of the award in history for his work on his groups album “Scars and Bars.” A graduate from Columbia College in Chicago, IL he received a BA in Audio Arts and Acoustics.
“Find your passion. [That’s] the one thing you can do no matter the time, day or night. [Do] something that brings you joy and gives you life,” said Frank Waln.
This will be Waln’s third time to the area and is hoping to leave the youth with a better understanding of who they are as Indigenous people and how to build a better future for our people.
“I ask for strength and guidance from my ancestors daily through prayer and know they will give me everything I need to feel empowered and move forward,” Waln said.
Paul Wenell Jr.
Paul Wenell Jr. AKA Tall Paul, is an Anishinaabe and Oneida Hip-Hop Artist from the Leech Lake Band of Minnesota, with a heavy inner-city vibe from growing up in the city of Minneapolis.
“Identify what you love to do by trying many different things,” said Wenell.
Performing live for the first time in 2009, Wenell has currently performed in Minneapolis’ top venues and continues to aspire to move forward in a positive way.
“If and when you find something you’re strongly passionate about, pursue it wholeheartedly and don’t stop,” Wenell said. “It’s super important that money doesn’t deter you from doing this.”
Public Speaker, Poet, Hip-Hop artist and Singer/Songwriter, Lyla June is of both the Navajo and Cheyenne linages. Braving severe abuse and addiction in her younger years, June has battled her way back to heal around music with the message of love and education.
Graduating from Stanford University in 2012 with honors in Environmental Anthropology and a masters in American Indian Education with distinction from the University of New Mexico, June began her healing work by co-founding The Taos Peace and Reconciliation Council, which focuses on healing intergenerational trauma and ethnic division.
“More than anything my goal for this training is to give young people an idea of their own protentional,” said June. “I’m hoping the youth will walk away from this feeling excited about life and sure that we love and care for them.”
Expression has been huge in the life of June, so much so she wrote a book called “Lifting Hearts of the Ground, Declaring Indigenous Rights in Poetry” along with fellow author, Joy De Vito. The book is described as “One Indigenous, One Settler come together to breathe life into the seemingly dry bones of the Declaration,” according to the Common Word Bookstore and Resource Centre online.
More so, she takes her vast education and knowledge of the thousands of years we have inhabited this earth and uses it for empowerment, for knowledge and for strength.
“My ancestors remind me that I am awesome and powerful,” expresses June.
Coming from just a hop, skip and jump away, Wake Self has played an intricate roll in Albuquerque’s Hip-Hop scene. Self’s debut album, “The Healing Process,” hit the music scene in 2013. Now he tours the world in hoping to make a real change in our current climate, after receiving 50,000 hits online. “The Healing Process” gained momentum resulting in a positive shift, receiving rave reviews and an almost perfect review from Ghettoblaster Magazine. Self was only headed forward moving onto his second album, “Good Things Happen To Those Who Wake,” by selling thousands of copies which lead him into a tailspin hip-hop movement, featured on Sirius XM’s Shade 45 Radio and MTV.com among several others.
“Embracing the challenge of creating a version of myself that matches the vision in my heart,” said Self. “The understanding that all the growth I experience is important and creator is guiding us to know ourselves.”
Not only does Self have a booming music career he is also a prominent part of his community, especially with the youth, holding workshops throughout the Southwest to help troubled youth. Practicing self-love, self-education and self-discipline has played in huge part of who Self has become and why he values the work he does.
“Practice delayed gratification. Find your own voice through whatever field of interest you journey into,” exclaimed Self. “Never accept anyone else’s version of success and happiness over your own. Be humble, be proud and when you find something you love to do that gives you energy be grateful for it every day.”
Coming from the Rosebud, SD, Gunner Jules is a member of the Sicangu Lakota Tribe. Jules hopes coming to Ignacio means, empowering and influencing our youth in a good way. Recording and producing his own music has taken him to a new level a level to which he feels empowered and grateful, always trying to live a balanced life.
When asked what advice he would give native youth when trying to pursue their dreams Jules responded, “I would tell native youth to create their own opportunities and to never pass them up when they’re presented. Each day is an opportunity to be thankful for something and a chance to learn from the day before.”
A first timer in Ignacio, Jules is always excited to visit new places and meet new people.
“I hope the youth walk away from the training with new confidence and some helpful knowledge,” said Jules.
Coming home Tanaya Winder, Poet, Artist, Writer, Motivational Speaker and Educator was raised on the Southern Ute Indian Reservation. Winder’s background is of Southern Ute, Paiute, Dine and Black Heritages. Keeping a strong connection and partnership with KSUT was vital for bringing this multi-media training to Ignacio and to be able to partner with each other once again.
“Home is important to me. This reservation played a big role in making me who I am today and no matter how successful I get, I never want to forget where I come from,” explained Winder. “Anytime I get a chance to bring what I do to my home, I’ll do it!”
Receiving her BA from Stanford University and MFA in Creative Writing/Poetry from the University of New Mexico, Winder is currently the Director of the Upward Bound Program, which provides support for participants in their preparation for college and higher educational pursuits.
Winder has published two books, “Soul Talk, Soul Language: Conversations with Joy Harjo” and “Words Like Love” and several published written pieces, mainly poetry such as“Love Lessons in a Time of Settler Colonialism” and “Missing More Than A Word,” both which were published in POETRY Magazine.
In 2016, Winder was named one of the Native American 40 Leaders under 40 by the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development. Winder is also the co-curator of a traveling exhibit “Sing our River Red,” in the hopes to bring awareness to the epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous Women in North America.
“I want to leave the youth with some tangible skills they can take home to help them in their artistic pursuits,” said Winder. “I also want to empower the youth to believe they can be brave enough to follow their passions and their dreams.”
A collection of six artists who believe in their dreams, reach for the stars and who want to help extend their gifts to others. Founder of Dream Warriors Management, Winder created this venture for indigenous artist to uplift others, including herself.
“We all came to Dream Warriors for different reasons. I started pursuing art after losing a good friend to suicide and wanted to help heal people through art. I wanted to help people find their paths,” Winder said. “Each of us came to art for different reasons, to heal, to help others heal, to learn to teach…”