MTV’s Rebel Music, highlights Native American musicians that are using their voices to empower future generations. Fueled by the support of their elders, their love for the earth and their communities, these four native american musicians: Frank Waln, Nataanii Means, Inez Jasper, and Watko, are powerful activists using their lyrics as a way to inspire and heal their native brothers and sisters and ultimately, to wake up the world.
According to Center for North American Youth, “Native American youth are one of the most at-risk populations in the United States….[due to]…centuries of failed U.S. policies and structural racism [which] have led to intolerable inequities in health, well-being, and other life conditions that negatively impact the likelihood of young Native Americans achieving their full potential.”
- 28% of Native Americans live in poverty
- The Unemployment rate for Native Americans is 15%
- Only 51% of Native American students graduate high school
- Diabetes rates are 177% than the U.S. population
- Alcoholism is 514% higher than the U.S. population
- Violence accounts for 75% of deaths for Native American youth age 12 to 20
- Suicide ranked as the 2nd leading cause of death for American Indians / Alaska Natives ages 10 to 34
With their communities filled with centuries of trauma and loss, our first nation people are still healing. Indigenous elders have been speaking up and reaching out to the “seventh generation” youth, in an effort to empower them to remember their spiritual roots and take their place as champions for our planet as was foretold by many prophecies.
The Prophecy of the Seventh Generation
According to the prophecy, after seven generations of living in close contact with the Europeans, the Onkwehonwe would see the day when the elm trees would die. The prophecy said that animals would be born strange and deformed, their limbs twisted out of shape. Huge stone monsters would tear open the face of the earth. The rivers would burn aflame. The air would burn the eyes of man. According to the prophecy of the Seventh Generation the Onkwehonwe would see the day when birds would fall from the sky, the fish would die in the water, and man would grow ashamed of the way that he had treated his mother and provider, the Earth.
Finally, according to this prophecy, after seven generations of living in close contact with the Europeans, the Onkwehonwe would rise up and demand that their rights and stewardship over the Earth be respected and restored. Source: Indian Legend.com
It’s important to realize that while first nation communities are struggling to rise above poverty, violence, and the destruction of their lands, their problems are not just issues for indigenous people. These are issues for everyone on the planet. Whether we still live in the land of our ancestors or not, we are all indigenous to the Earth. All of our land, our water, our food, and our medicines are being destroyed for money, power, and greed. Our people are raped, murdered, sold as slaves, and drugged up. There is an apathy that is fostered by the systems in place designed to dumb us down, numb us up, and keep us quiet. We have been taught to ignore, to look away, to be silent, YET NOW, these powerful artists are calling to us to rise up and remember our connection to each other and our earth.
We are being shaken awake and it’s time to say ENOUGH!
If like these four musicians, we ban together to speak out against the atrocities of our planet as one people of all races and creeds, we can stop the destruction of this beautiful place we call home. It’s time to for all generations of our Earth to grow their wings. This fight to stop the destruction of our planet and it’s people is a fight that we all need to champion. To keep the spirit moving, visit the following links to learn more about these four amazing Native Americans showcased by MTV in this issue of Rebel Music:
MTV’s Rebel Music: Native America
Center for Native American Youth – source for statistics
Ensuring the Seventh Generation. A Youth Suicide Prevention Toolkit – source for statistics