[Producers note: our videographer regrets cutting off Wahwaytay's shirt, it says, "Defend The Rez."]
Wahwahtay Benais: The Thunderbird Within the Northern Lights
By Doug MacRostie
The oppression, hardship and discrimination that Native Americans have lived for the last 500 years is something that is very difficult to put into words. The same pain and struggle they continue to face today while fighting to maintain who they are as a people.
Using music, Wahwahtay Benais has captured and expressed that plight in a very powerful way. From the Leech Lake Rez, living in Ball Club, his name references the Thunderbird that comes from within the Northern Lights. Wahwahtay is a hip-hop/rap artist with an intense and emotional message, and it is a true honor to have him join me in-studio this week on Centerstage MN.
I first heard him thanks to a video for his song Indigenous Holocaust (included below). It took my breath away. It brought tears to my eyes. It made me want to change the world. In a time of dumbed-down raps and wearing riches as robes, Wahwahtay is a much needed breath of fresh air working to empower youth and preserve Annishinaabe traditions and language. Do NOT miss this.