Wednesday, December 15, 2010

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.

Defend the Rez

To set the mood right for the interview, we'll hear from Brother Ali - MN's premiere hip-hop artist, and More Than Lights; all of which have socially conscious lyrics and try to bring a voice to the voiceless.

Centerstage MN is Thursday evenings at 6, streaming live online at; or 91.7 Grand Rapids, 89.9 Brainerd and 105.3 Bemidji and can be heard again Sunday mornings at 6. All interviews are archived at Centerstage MN is also heard on KSRQ in Thief River Falls Saturday nights at 11 & Wednesdays at Noon, and on WTIP in Grand Marais Thursday afternoons at 4. Often featured on

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