Today, in recognition of Indigenous Peoples Day, we talk with Native poets and performing artists Frank Waln and Tanaya Winder, who will also play some of their powerful music.
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“I really believe in helping people heal through the power of love and I try to infuse anything I write — whether it’s poetry, nonfiction, music — into that.”
“We started writing poetry to process the world, and kind of as an act of survival. When our backs were against the wall and we were growing up in the aftermath of genocide and facing things like depression and historical trauma and PTSD and suicide, poetry and expressing ourselves through those words helped us get through that.”
“I play a few instruments. Music was always an escape for me, a safe space for me, as was reading and writing. But music was my language.”
“I was taught as a Lakota person, time is fluid for my people and when you tell stories and sing songs you can time travel. So I really believe that through art and through healing ourselves we can heal our ancestors and we can heal some of those wounds that our ancestors took to the grave.”
“We’re here because of love. We’ve survived genocide because of love. So I’m trying to cling to that love to get us through the aftermath of that genocide.”